In the United States, Labor Day has been held on the first Monday in September since the 1880s. This year, Labor Day falls on September 5. Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September.
It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day weekend also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, street parades, and athletic events.
Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?
Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks to earn a living.
In Chicago, workers at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company participated in a strike to encourage leadership to implement the change. More than 400 police officers guarded the factory to prevent the entrance of the workers on strike.
On the third day of the strike, a few protestors tried to break through the police line to confront the strikebreakers, and they were shot upon. Local anarchist groups quickly released a pamphlet detailing the event and encouraged workers to join a rally at Haymarket Square the following day.
Repression of the labor movement swiftly followed, but the event would later be recognized as a critical moment in the US movement for an eight-hour workday.
How to Celebrate Labor Day
1. Take a Road Trip. The three-day weekend is the perfect time to drive somewhere new. Get kids involved by having them help plan out the route on a map, and deciding which sights to see while you're there.
2. Hit the Shops. Labor Day sales are a great time to stock up on back-to-school essentials, kids' clothing, and cold-weather wardrobe staples for fall.
3. Backyard celebrations. You can’t have a barbecue without some backyard fun! Many people compete in backyard games while celebrating Labor Day. If the barbecue gets rained out, don’t worry—there are plenty of Labor Day games to play indoors too.
4. Organize Your Own Labor Day Parade. Labor Day parades are such a teachable moment for kids. You can demonstrate the best waving technique, a catch-and-release strategy on candy (never dive for a Tootsie Roll), and ideal positioning for easily getting out of the area once the parade is over.
5. Attend a Labor Day parade or a music festival. Many towns still have union-organized parades or festivals for Labor Day. They're great opportunities to enjoy the sunshine and spend your day surrounded by others that are celebrating. Find out what’s going on in your area by reading the event listings in your local newspaper, searching online, or asking neighbors or coworkers. If you're less interested in a parade, check out local music festivals or concerts happening during Labor Day weekend.
6. Go swimming for the day. Labor Day is usually one of the last hot summer days. Take advantage of the sunny weather by swimming at a local pool or visiting a natural swimming hole. Bring sunscreen, pool toys, and goggles to make the day super enjoyable. If you don't have pool access, try setting up a water slide in your backyard or visiting a fountain at a local park.
"No human masterpiece has been created
without great labour."– Andre Gide.
About the Author
Rabih Hamawi is a principal at the Law Office of Rabih Hamawi, P.C. and focuses his practice on representing policyholders in fire, property damage, and insurance-coverage disputes against insurance companies and in errors-and-omissions cases against insurance agents. He may be reached at (248) 905-1133.