Labor Day


In the United States of America, Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is celebrated to honor the economic and social achievements of American workers. The Monday of the long weekend is called the Labor Day Weekend.

Labor Day is a federal holiday in the USA. It is a yearly tribute to the participation of labors which played a key role in the prosperity, well-being, development, and strength of the USA. The day came to be as a proposal from the labor unions at the beginning of the 19th century.

Origin of Labor Day

At the start of the 19th century, there was a rise in trade unions and labor movements in the United States. In the 1880s, the Knights of Labor organized a convention in New York.

At the occasion, a public parade was organized with the help of a number of labor associations. The labor unions at the occasion proposed that a specific day should be designated as the Labor Day. This proposal met some success in 1909 when American Federation of Labor designated a ‘Labor Sunday.’

The Founder of Labor Day

There is a controversy about who proposed the first holiday for laborers. Peter J. McGuire, who was the co-founder of the American Federation of Labor and general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, is usually considered the first person to suggest a day to pay tribute to workers.

However, latest research suggests that Matthew Maguire was the one who proposed a holiday in 1882 when he was secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

Legislation for Labor Day

In 1885 and 1886, government took initial steps towards recognizing a Labor Day. The earliest initiative came through municipal ordinances. The New York legislature was the first body where a state bill was introduced to this effect.

However, Oregon became the first state to pass a law for designating the day in 1887. The legislature of four states namely Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Colorado later created a Labor Day holiday.

This suit was followed by Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut by the end of the decade. The holiday was adopted by 23 more states by 1894. An act was passed by Congress on 28th June 1894 which made the first Monday of September each year a legal holiday in Columbia and its territories.

First Adoption as Public Holiday

On 5th September 1882 on Tuesday, Labor Day holiday was celebrated in New York. This was celebrated by the Central Labor Union New York. On 5th September 1883, the second Labor Day holiday was celebrated just a year later by the Central Labor Union.

On 28th June 1894, conservative President Grover Cleveland signed a law that made the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday. There was a long debate before officially declaring it a holiday.

Dispute over Date

In 1886, May 1st emerged as an alternative holiday for the celebration of labor. It was later known as International Workers’ Day. May 1st was a date of the coordinated strike in 1885 for the adoption of the eight-hour day.

It was further accentuated by the bloody Haymarket affair that took place on 4th May 1886. There was a disagreement among the labor unions about the holiday at that time. Some advocated for a holiday in September, others wanted it in May. President Grover Cleveland was a supporter of a holiday in May but later his views changed.

Nationwide Adoption

In the beginning, a street parade was arranged for the celebration and observance of Labor Day. There were amusements and festivals, especially for the families of the laborer.

Later, prominent persons were invited to deliver speeches on the occasion. Today, Labor Day addresses are chiefly delivered mainly by educators, union officials, government officials, industrialists, and clerics. The essence of Labor Day is the realization of the contribution of workers in lifting the standard of living for the people.

Popular activities on Labor Day

There are parades in almost every city in the US on this day. People usually visit amusement parks on this long weekend. In Minnesota, the State Fair ends on Labor Day. Many projects are presented on this fair by the students. Many fall sports also start on the Labor Day weekend. There is a Labor Day Carnival and fireworks in New York.

Labor Day and Sports

Many fall sports start at the weekend of Labor Day in the US. The teams of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) play their first game on this weekend. The kickoff game of the National Football League (NFL) is played traditionally on the Thursday following the Labor Day.

In Darlington, South Carolina Southern 500 NASCAR auto race takes place on Labor Day at Darlington Raceway. It has been taking place on the day from 1950 to 2003 and since 2015.

The US Open Tennis Championship’s middle weeks come on Labor Day. The final of NHRA US Nationals drag race arrange their finals this weekend at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Labor Day Shopping

As is the case with many other occasions, Labor Day is used by many companies to offer discounts and offers. Of particular popularity are the sales on back-to-school items, given the dates of this day. Retailers offering relevant products experience excellent sales on this day.


  • Labor Day honors American laborers and is celebrated on the first Monday of September.
  • Labor Day is designated as a federal holiday.
  • Proposals to designate a day as Labor Day began as early as the late 19th century. First
  • proposals came from labor organizations such as Knights of Labor and Central Labor Union.
  • The first state to designate the day as a public holiday was Oregon.
  • By 1894, 30 states had adopted Labor Day as an official public holiday.
  • The federal government adopted the day in 1894 and it then became a national holiday.
  • Labor Day weekend is the long weekend including the Monday of the Labor Day.