Why do we celebrate Labor Day in the United States?
Labor Day, known as the holiday that marks the unofficial end of summer, is celebrated on the first Monday of September each year. People know it is having an extra day off from work and school, but its meaning goes much further than just the long weekend.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the day is “an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers.” The holidays stem from the late 1800s when labor activists wanted a federal holiday to recognize workers’ contributions to the country.
The very first Labor Day was celebrated in New York back in September 1882, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union.
Labor Day was originally started as a holiday that was only seen in individual states. In 1886, New York was to first state to introduce a bill trying to secure federal legislation, but Oregon was the first to pass the law recognizing the day.
In 1887, four more states passed laws recognizing the day as a holiday and by 1894, 27 more states followed. On June 28, 1894, Congress officially passed an act making the first Monday in September a legal holiday with President Grover Cleveland signing it into law.
Today, many Americans celebrate Labor Day with parades, festivals, and parties, similar to those outlined by the first proposal of the holiday back in the late 19th century.