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What is Labor Day & Why Do We Celebrate It?

Updated on May 27, 2013

If a friend or family member approached you and asked you a simple question “what is Labor Day?” Would you be prepared to answer it? I doubt many people truly know what Labor Day really is other then the obvious that it is the first Monday in September. In most areas of the country it signifies a few common things like the first day back to school, or the end of summer but that is starting to become not the case in many areas since schools are starting back in middle or late august. But, the sun is still shining on the beach through Labor Day weekend and it is not hard to still find many summer time activates.

There is a little history behind Labor Day as a national Holiday. Originally Labor Day is over one hundred years old. It originally started as a Labor Union celebration day but has grown into being the day recognized as the end of summer. At the end of august in the early 1880 there was a New York parade that featured some of the knights of Columbus. They put on a celebration to give credit for the average working class citizen. In 1884 the first real Labor Day parade was thrown in New York and the knights decided that the first Monday of September was to be that special Labor Day

With in other socialist countries there is a celebration that is similar to Labor Day held on May first. This day came to be known as May Day. It was decided by both socialist and communistic countries this is the day they will celebrate there working class. The United States at that time still wanted to be different so to not be associated with these other countries celebrations they chose another date.

Toward the end of the last decade, labor organizations decided that it was time that Labor Day be recognized as a national Holiday. The labor organization lobbied well with state and national politics to officially make it a recognized holiday. The first state to declare I a national holiday was Oregon in the summer of 1887. Soon other states followed with Colorado, New York, Delaware, and New Jersey. Then in the early 1890s there was a congressional meeting on it and it was officially declared a federal holiday.

Labor Day has been celebrated in the United States ever since. It is also celebrated in other democratic and industrialized nations like Canada and Mexico. Though the holiday has remained the same there have been other things tagged on to it like the end of summer or beginning of school. Labor Day should remain a holiday that celebrates the working class of the United States because we need to honor those who put in a 40 hour week to keep the gears of freedom rolling in this great land.


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  • billyaustindillon profile image

    billyaustindillon 7 years ago

    Very informative hub !

  • Tracy711 profile image

    Tracy711 8 years ago

    This was interesting although I wasn't sure if I knew why we celebrated it I'm sure glad you cleared it up. Your hub was interesting and informative. Thank you for sharing your knowledgeable information. After being out of school for so many years we tend to forget things we have already learned.

  • Dottie1 profile image

    Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

    I just asked my husband this same question Monday on Labor Day, what are we celebrating? The first thing that came to mind was like you said so many think it is the last weekend of summer. So thanks for clearing this up :)