Labor Day is annual holiday, observed on the first Monday in September, tha celebrates the unofficial end of the summer season and honors the contributions and achievements of the American worker.
While millions of Americans will celebrate the yearly holiday by enjoying a much-needed day off from work with a backyard barbecue, picnic, parade or a little rest and relaxation, Labor Day has a rich history.
Labor Day History
During the late 1800s, many Americans were working long, 12-hour days. Many young children also worked long days with very little pay under less-than-favorable conditions. Labor unions began to form around the country, organizing efforts to protest low pay, long hours and harsh and dangerous conditions. Workers also began demanding age restrictions on workers to keep young children out of factories and the workplace.
While there is some debate as to who actually “created” the “workingmen’s holiday,” Labor Day wasfirst observed in New York City in 1882. 10,000 employees took to the streets to participate in the very first Labor Day parade on September 5, 1882. These workers took unpaid time off from work to march from City Hall to Union Square. Little by little, other areas around the country began celebrating Labor Day. But it was not until 1894 when Labor Day became a federal holiday.
Labor Day serves as an important reminder that without those brave American men and women from days gone by, our working conditions would be entirely different today.