Labor Day is celebrated in the United States and Canada.
In the United States, Labor Day falls on the first Monday in September. Labor Day was originally created to honor the working class. The idea for this holiday is generally credited to Knights of Labor leader P.J. McGuire although some believe that machinist Matthew Maguire is responsible. Either way, the concept stems from the same circumstances.
Numerous immigrants came to the United States seeking a better life. Unfortunately, they often ended up in small homes with other families, children had to work, and working conditions were horrible. People worked ten to twelve hour shifts with only a short break for lunch. They worked regardless of their own health, if they didn’t they stood the possibility of being fired. In addition, the pay was poor, and the work environment was often unsanitary or hazardous.
On Tuesday, September 5, 1882 The Knights of Labor union organized in a parade carrying banners protesting work conditions and to support each other in New York City. The parade was followed by a picnic in the park. In 1884 another parade was held, and the Knights of Labor decided to make this an annual event. Celebrations followed each year and organizations in other cities were urged to join in the festivities. The first municipal ordinances were passed in 1885 and 1886; the first state bill to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. September was chosen because it falls between the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. This avoids Labor Day being lost among larger celebrations.
Labor Day signals the end of summer and back to school. Many families go away for the weekend to commemorate the final days of summer and have fun. This also makes it one of the craziest weekends for driving with crowded freeways and streets.
Did you know?
According to the 1996 Census Bureau the riskiest profession is the commercial fisherman. There are 155 deaths a year per 1,000,000 workers.
Labour Day has been celebrated in Canada on the first Monday in September since the 1894. Families enjoy picnic, fireworks, and public events.
Do not wear white shoes after Labor Day. White clothing was accceptable.
Cowboys wear straw cowboy hats until Labor Day. A felt hat is worn until Memorial Day.
Both these traditions are considered old fashioned.