Labor Day Facts

Can you believe that it’s almost Labor Day again? Another summer flew by, and here we are once again “celebrating” the back-to-work ritual marked by Labor Day. But when did this holiday begin?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the first observance of Labor Day was likely on September 5, 1882, when some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade.

The idea of hosting a “workingmen’s holiday” caught on across the country, and by 1894 more than half the states were observing a similar holiday.

Labor Day became an officially-recognized holiday – to be held on the first Monday in September each year – when Congress passed, and President Grover Cleveland signed, legislation to that effect in 1894.

Of course, the original meaning of the holiday has been somewhat obscured in recent decades. What started as an initiative of the 19th century labor movement to celebrate the contributions of the American worker has turned into an end-of-summer blowout weekend.

Now, we have “Three Day Sales Events!” and barbecues. Maybe this is our modern way of celebrating American labor – by partying and buying things.

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