In the United States it is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September honoring the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country – the “workingmen’s holiday.” It is considered to the unofficial end of summer, and usually affords us a three-day weekend come September.
In the late 19th century, the trade union and labor movements grew, and it was proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. The first parade was organized in New York City on September 5, 1882, and in 1887, Oregon was the first state to make it an official public holiday. President Grover Cleveland made it an official federal holiday on June 28, 1894, with 30 states celebrating Labor Day. Since then, all the U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and United States Virgin Islands) have made Labor Day a legal holiday.
Now that we know what it is, here are some surprising particulars about Labor Day:
- Americans during the time Labor Day was first created worked twelve hours a day, six days a week. When the Adamson Act was passed on September 3, 1916, the modern eight hour work day was established.
- There used to be an unspoken rule – wear no white after Labor Day. The practical idea was that since the summer season was over, lighter, more summery clothes were no longer needed. Another theory was that the promotion of fall clothing in the fashion world began. The fashion rule now is that wearing white is glamorous no matter what the season.
- Ironically, Labor Day causes some of the longest working hours for retail workers as it is notorious for having crazy sales. In fact, many other people are expected to work as well.
- Labor Day is the official end of the hot dog season, as recorded on the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council website. Americans consume about seven billion hot dogs from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
- Labor Day is one of the busiest travel days in America. It is the second most dangerous holiday weekend to drive on U.S. highways. People tend to be more reckless on the roads.
- It is also the beginning of the National Football League season – almost every NFL kick off game has started the weekend after Labor Day.
- It is the third most popular day of the year to have a cookout. It falls behind Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.
- Labor Day used to be viewed as the unofficial last day of vacation before the start of the new school year. That may the case in some schools these days, but most schools have shortened the summer break and begin in August. (Mourned by students, but cheered by parents)
As we all celebrate our Labor Day holiday parties, give a nod to all the hardworking men and women in our country and elsewhere. Enjoy your family and friends and have a great weekend!