Labor Day FAQ
Q: What is Labor Day?
A: Labor Day in the United States is celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is to honor workers – specifically those who physically labor – whose contributions have historically developed the economy of this country.
Q: What is the origin of Labor Day?
A: The first Labor Day was in New York City in 1882. It was born out of a movement to unionize and advocate for safe working conditions. Over the years, more and more states adopted this holiday. Twelve years later, in 1894, President Grover Cleveland officially declared Labor Day a national holiday.
Q: How do people celebrate Labor Day?
A: For the masses, Labor Day is a final celebration to commemorate the end of summer. Many schools resume the following day, so families grill burgers and hotdogs and get in one last dip into the pool. It’s also a way to boost the economy by having Labor Day/Back to School sales.
For the more politically active, Labor Day is a call to action for unions to strengthen their resolve and set goals to advance their objectives.
Q: Why is the U.S. Labor Day in September instead of May?
A: In early May of 1886, a rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square resulted in the deaths of several demonstrators and police. Simultaneously, many European countries organized to further union objectives which evolved into a May 1st International Workers Day by 1889.
The decision to make an official Untied States Labor Day in September was to distance the United States from socialist and Marxist ideologies. It also happened to align with the Victorian practice of picnicking to commemorate the end of the summer.