What Is Labor Day? Labor Day History & Why We Celebrate

what is labor day


Labor Day is a bittersweet holiday. It’s the day on the calendar that signals summer has come to a close but on the other hand it means one last long weekend blowoff to end it on a high note. Yet few know why we celebrate the holiday and how it came about.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is a tribute to the contributions of the American workforce.

Labor Day history’s dates back to the late 19th century. It remains disputed whether the founder was Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, or Matthew Maguire, a machinist, founded the holiday in the early 1880’s.

According to the Department of Labor’s website , the first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. New York introduced the first Labor Day state bill in its legislature, but Oregon was the first state to pass Labor Day into law in 1887. After numerous other states followed suit in the ensuing years, Congress passed an act in 1894 that established Labor Day as a federal holiday to be observed the first Monday in September every year.

Have a great time this Labor Day, and be sure to keep in mind the hardworking people that the day is meant to honor.


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