What is Labor Day
Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.
The first Labor Day was held in the year 1882. Its origins stem from the desire of the Central Labor Union to create a holiday for workers. It became a federal holiday in 1894. It was originally intended that the day would be filled with a street parade to allow the public to appreciate the work of the trade and labor organizations. After the parade, a festival was to be held to amuse local workers and their families. In later years, prominent men and women held speeches. This is less common now, but is sometimes seen in election years. One of the reasons for choosing to celebrate this on the first Monday in September was to add a holiday in the long gap between Independence Day and Thanksgiving.
Labor Day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who organized the first parade in New York City. After the Haymarket Massacre, which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886, President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Thus, in 1887, it was established as an official holiday in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.
More than hundred years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.
Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was 1st in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."
But McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union . What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of U.S. workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
Labor Day is a day of rest or the last chance for many people to go on trips before the summer ends. For students, it is the last chance to organize parties before school starts again. In some neighborhoods, people organize fireworks displays, barbecues and public arts or sports events. The football season starts on or around Labor Day and many teams play their first game of the year during Labor Day weekend.
Traditionally, people did not wear white clothes, particularly shoes, after Labor day. However, this custom is slowly dying out. More and more people now wear white all year round, rather than just in the summer. Similarly, it is the custom to wear a straw cowboy hat from Memorial Day until Labor Day, then a felt one until Memorial Day comes around again.
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