Occasions 365

Labor Day

The history of Labor Day weekend

Labor Day originated as a workers' holiday, and has been celebrated for well over 100 years. It evolved in the early part of the 20th century, when labor unions and organizations began to spring up as means of protecting the rights of laborers in an era of rapid and widespread modern industrialization. Though the history of Labor Day is the subject of much debate among experts, it is universally agreed upon that the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated in 1882 by a workers' union in New York City, and from there, it spread throughout the United States and into other countries.

What Is Labor Day?

The original intent behind the creation of the Labor Day holiday has largely been lost in modern celebrations of the event. However, it originally displayed solidarity among workers and sought to raise their profile in the communities in which they lived. It celebrated the vital contributions that laborers and workers make to the patchwork of society. Parades were a common feature of early Labor Day celebrations, and though they are still held in some communities throughout the world, their association with the holiday has diminished over time.

Today, Labor Day is largely a time for family togetherness and quiet relaxation. Cookouts, barbecues and leisure activities such as boating, fishing and camping are popular ways to spend the Labor Day weekend as people seek to enjoy the warm weather while it lasts and take best advantage of the summer sunshine before autumn sets in.

When Is Labor Day?

Traditionally, Labor Day weekend marks "the unofficial end of summer." In North America, it is celebrated on the first Monday in September (though the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on a Tuesday). While it does not have as high a profile as other summer holidays, such as the 4th of July, many municipalities offer planned events in local parks and fairgrounds, and picnics are among the most popular Labor Day ideas for celebrating the holiday. As many people like to go on getaways as summer draws to a close, you'll also find a lot of Labor Day weekend travel deals offered by travel agents, airlines and holiday rental companies.

Advertiser Links for Labor Day
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