What is Labor Day and why do we celebrate it?


Zach Yearwood, Managing Editor

On the first Monday of every September, students and workers throughout the United States and Canada enjoy a three-day weekend thanks to Labor Day. But how and why exactly did the celebration start?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Day is “a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

The tradition began in New York City on Tuesday, September 5, 1882. The city’s Central Labor Union organized a street parade to exhibit the “strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organization” along with a festival for workers and their families to enjoy.

Lithograph of 1882 Labor Day parade in New York City. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

By 1894, 24 states had adopted the holiday. On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday of every September a national holiday.

Labor Day is a celebration of the hard-working men and women throughout America and will most likely continue to be celebrated for decades to come.


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