Labor Day

Labor Day in the United States of America is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the development, growth, endurance, strength, security, prosperity, productivity, laws, sustainability, persistence, structure, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday.

Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor. "Labor Day" was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which organized the first parade in New York City. In 1887, Oregon was the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty states in the United States officially celebrated Labor Day.[1]

Canada's Labour Day is also celebrated on the first Monday of September. More than 80 countries celebrate International Workers' Day on May 1 – the ancient European holiday of May Day. (May Day was chosen by the Second Internationale of socialist and communist parties to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886.[2][3]) Lastly, several countries have chosen neither date for their Labour Day.

Labor Day
First United States Labor Day Parade, September 5, 1882 in New York City
Labor Day Parade in New York's Union Square, 1882
Observed byUnited States
CelebrationsParades, barbecues
DateFirst Monday in September
2018 dateSeptember 3
2019 dateSeptember 2
2020 dateSeptember 7
2021 dateSeptember 6
Related toLabour Day



Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, different groups of trade unionists chose a variety of days on which to celebrate labor. In the United States, a September holiday called Labor Day was first proposed in the early 1880s. Alternate stories of the event's origination exist.

According to one early history of Labor Day, the event originated in connection with a General Assembly of the Knights of Labor convened in New York City in September 1882.[4] In connection with this clandestine Knights assembly, a public parade of various labor organizations was held on September 5 under the auspices of the Central Labor Union (CLU) of New York.[4] Secretary of the CLU Matthew Maguire is credited for first proposing that a national Labor Day holiday subsequently be held on the first Monday of each September in the aftermath of this successful public demonstration.[5]

P. J. McGuire, Vice President of the American Federation of Labor, is frequently credited as the father of Labor Day in the United States.

An alternative thesis maintains that the idea of Labor Day was the brainchild of Peter J. McGuire, a vice president of the American Federation of Labor, who put forward the initial proposal in the spring of 1882.[1] According to McGuire, on May 8, 1882, he made a proposition to the fledgling Central Labor Union in New York City that a day be set aside for a "general holiday for the laboring classes".[6] According to McGuire he further recommended that the event should begin with a street parade as a public demonstration of organized labor's solidarity and strength, with the march followed by a picnic, to which participating local unions could sell tickets as a fundraiser.[6] According to McGuire he suggested the first Monday in September as an ideal date for such a public celebration, owing to optimum weather and the date's place on the calendar, sitting midway between the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving public holidays.[6]

Labor Day picnics and other public gatherings frequently featured speeches by prominent labor leaders.

In 1909 the American Federation of Labor convention designated the Sunday preceding Labor Day as "Labor Sunday", to be dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.[5] This secondary date failed to gain significant traction in popular culture.

Legal recognition

In 1887 Oregon became the first state of the United States to make Labor Day an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty U.S. states officially celebrated Labor Day.[1] All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories have subsequently made Labor Day a statutory holiday.

Labor Day vs. May Day

The date of May 1 (an ancient European folk holiday known as May Day) emerged in 1886 as an alternative holiday for the celebration of labor, later becoming known as International Workers' Day. The date had its origins at the 1885 convention of the American Federation of Labor, which passed a resolution calling for adoption of the eight-hour day effective May 1, 1886.[7] While negotiation was envisioned for achievement of the shortened work day, use of the strike to enforce this demand was recognized, with May 1 advocated as a date for coordinated strike action.[7] The proximity of the date to the bloody Haymarket affair of May 4, 1886, further accentuated May First's radical reputation.

There was disagreement among labor unions at this time about when a holiday celebrating workers should be, with some advocating for continued emphasis of the September march-and-picnic date while others sought the designation of the more politically-charged date of May 1. Conservative Democratic President Grover Cleveland was one of those concerned that a labor holiday on May 1 would tend to become a commemoration of the Haymarket Affair and would strengthen socialist and anarchist movements that backed the May 1 commemoration around the globe.[8] In 1887, he publicly supported the September Labor Day holiday as a less inflammatory alternative.[9] The date was formally adopted as a United States federal holiday in 1894.

Unofficial end of summer

Labor Day is called the "unofficial end of summer"[10] because it marks the end of the cultural summer season. Many take their two-week vacations during the two weeks ending Labor Day weekend.[11] Many fall activities, such as school and sports begin about this time.

In the United States, many school districts resume classes around the Labor Day holiday weekend (see First day of school). Many begin the week before, making Labor Day weekend the first three-day weekend of the school calendar, while others return the Tuesday following Labor Day, allowing families one final getaway before the school year begins. Many districts across the Midwest are opting to begin school after Labor Day.[12]

In the U.S. state of Virginia, the amusement park industry has successfully lobbied for legislation requiring most school districts in the state to have their first day of school after Labor Day, in order to give families another weekend to visit amusement parks in the state. The relevant statute has been nicknamed the "Kings Dominion law" after one such park.[13]

In Minnesota the State Fair ends on Labor Day. Under state law public schools normally do not begin until after the holiday. Allowing time for school children to show 4-H projects at the Fair has been given as one reason for this timing.[14]

In U.S. sports, Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of many fall sports. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams usually play their first games that weekend and the National Football League (NFL) traditionally play their kickoff game the Thursday following Labor Day. The Southern 500 NASCAR auto race has been held on Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina from 1950 to 2003 and since 2015. At Indianapolis Raceway Park, the National Hot Rod Association hold their finals of the NHRA U.S. Nationals drag race that weekend. Labor Day is the middle point between weeks one and two of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships held in Flushing Meadows, New York.

In fashion, Labor Day is (or was) considered the last day when it is acceptable to wear white[15] or seersucker.[16][17]

In big cities, people try to go outside and enjoy beaches and barbecues over the Labor Day Weekend. There are also numerous events and activities organized in the cities. For example, New York offers Labor Day Carnival, fireworks over Coney Island, happy hours in restaurants, 12-hour dance parties, and many other activities.[18]. In Washington, one popular event is the Labor Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol featuring the National Symphony Orchestra with free attendance[19]

Labor Day sales

To take advantage of large numbers of potential customers with time to shop, Labor Day has become an important weekend for discounts and allowances by many retailers in the United States, especially for back-to-school sales. Some retailers claim it is one of the largest sale dates of the year, second only to the Christmas season's Black Friday.[20]

See also


  1. ^ a b c The Bridgemen's magazine. International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers. 1921. pp. 443–444. Archived from the original on October 9, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  2. ^ Philip S. Foner (1986). May Day: A Short History of the International Workers' Holiday, 1886–1986. New York: International Publishers. pp. 41–43. ISBN 0-7178-0624-3.
  3. ^ Rothman, Lily (May 1, 2017). "The Bloody Story of How May Day Became a Holiday for Workers". Time. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  4. ^ a b "Origin of Labor Day", Cincinnati Tribune, September 1, 1895, Special Labor Day supplement, p. 26.
  5. ^ a b "United States Department of Labor: The History of Labor Day". Archived from the original on September 25, 2017. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c P.J. McGuire, "Labor Day – Its Birth and Significance", The Union Agent [Kentucky], vol. 3, no. 9 (Sept. 1898), p. 1.
  7. ^ a b Philip S. Foner, May Day: A Short History of the International Workers' Holiday. New York: International Publishers, 1986; p. 19.
  8. ^ Sally Kohn (September 1, 2014). Why Labor Day was a political move. CNN. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  9. ^ "Knights of Labor". Progressive Historians. September 3, 2007. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  10. ^ "Labor Day marks unofficial end of rainy summer". WBIR-TV10. September 2, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  11. ^ "Labor Day: The Last (and Best) Chance for a Summer Vacation". Travelocity.
  12. ^ Charles, C. M.; Senter, Gail W. (2008). Elementary classroom management. Pearson/Allyn and Bacon. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-205-51071-9. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  13. ^ Freed, Benjamin (August 25, 2014). ""Kings Dominion Law" Still Reigns in Virginia". Washingtonian. Archived from the original on September 13, 2016. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  14. ^ "Commonly asked questions". Archived from the original on September 4, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  15. ^ Laura FitzPatrick (September 8, 2009). "Why We Can't Wear White After Labor Day". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on March 3, 2011. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  16. ^ Bell, Johnathan (May 9, 2011). "An Introduction to Seersucker for Men". Guy Style Guide. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  17. ^ O'Brien, Glenn. "Daytime wedding after Labor Day: Is it OK to wear a light beige suit to a daytime wedding after Labor Day?". GQ. The Style Guy. Archived from the original on January 31, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  18. ^ "Labor Day Weekend".
  19. ^ "20+ Ways to Celebrate Labor Day Weekend in Washington, DC". Destination DC.
  20. ^ "Labor Day Intention Still Holds Meaning". Tri Parish Times. August 30, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012.


  • Green, James (2007). Death In the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing that Divided Gilded Age America. Anchor. ISBN 1-4000-3322-5.

External links

1935 Labor Day hurricane

The 1935 Labor Day hurricane (formally known as Hurricane Three) was the most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall on record in terms of both pressure and wind speed. It was also the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record until Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. The fourth tropical cyclone, third tropical storm, second hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 1935 Atlantic hurricane season, the Labor Day Hurricane was the first known Category 5 hurricane on record to strike the contiguous United States.

The hurricane intensified rapidly, passing near Long Key on the evening of September 2. The region was swept by a massive storm surge as the eye passed over the area. The waters quickly receded after carving new channels connecting the bay with the ocean; however, gale-force winds and high seas persisted into Tuesday, preventing rescue efforts. The storm continued northwestward along the Florida west coast, weakening before its second landfall near Cedar Key, Florida, on September 4.

The compact and intense hurricane caused catastrophic damage in the upper Florida Keys, as a storm surge of approximately 18 to 20 feet (5.5 to 6.1 m) swept over the low-lying islands. The hurricane's strong winds and the surge destroyed nearly all the structures between Tavernier and Marathon. The town of Islamorada was obliterated. Portions of the Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway were severely damaged or destroyed. The hurricane also caused additional damage in northwest Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

2000 NFL season

The 2000 NFL season was the 81st regular season of the National Football League. The season ended with Super Bowl XXXV when the Baltimore Ravens defeated the New York Giants 34–7 at the Raymond James Stadium.

Week 1 of the season reverted to Labor Day weekend in 2000. It would be the last NFL season to date to start on Labor Day weekend. It would also be the last time until 2015 that CBS televised the late afternoon games in Week 1. This was because both Week 1 of the NFL season and CBS’ coverage of the U.S. Open tennis finals would take place on the same day beginning next season.

2005 California wildfires

The 2005 California wildfires were a series of wildfires that were active in the state of California during the year 2005. In total, there were 7,162 fires that burned 222,538 acres (900.58 km2) of land.

2005 Labor Day brush fire

The Labor Day brush fire was a small brush fire that burned parts of Rancho Peñasquitos and Black Mountain Open Space Park in September 2005, during the 2005 California wildfire season. Despite its small size, the brush fire was the worst wildfire to affect San Diego City in two years, since the Cedar Fire of 2003. The wildfire resulted in 6 injuries, but did not result in structural damages. The brush fire was determined to have been started by a teenage boy, who was subsequently arrested.

Bojangles' Southern 500

The Bojangles' Southern 500 is a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stock car race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina, United States. The race distance is 501 miles (806 km) and consists of 367 laps. From 1950 to 2003, and again since 2015, the race has been held on Labor Day weekend. The Southern 500 is largely considered one of the Crown Jewels of the NASCAR calendar, and has been nicknamed NASCAR's "oldest superspeedway race." For decades, the race has been considered by competitors and media as one of the more difficult and challenging races on the NASCAR schedule, owing much to the track's unusual, asymmetrical egg-shape, rough pavement, and overall unforgiving nature. Darlington Raceway itself has a long and storied reputation as the "Track Too Tough to Tame."

The Southern 500 has a storied history, including Bill Elliott famously winning the Winston Million in 1985, and Jeff Gordon also winning Winston Million in 1997. It is also the site of Darrell Waltrip's final career victory (1992).

Through 2004, Darlington held two Cup series races annually, the Southern 500 in the fall, and a 400-mile event in the spring. In 2004, the Southern 500 was moved to November and was run as the second-to-last race in the inaugural Chase for the Championship. The following year, as the result of a settlement in the Ferko lawsuit, Darlington lost one of its two dates. The 500-mile race was moved to the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend in May, and renamed for the sponsorship of Dodge. The race was held as a night race under-the-lights during this period.

The event re-assumed the Southern 500 name in 2009, and in 2015, moved back to its traditional Labor Day weekend date. Since 2015, the race weekend has been themed "NASCAR Throwback," with many cars fielding "Throwback" paint schemes.

The trophy features photos of all the past winners of the race.


Bumbershoot is an annual international music and arts festival held in Seattle, Washington. One of North America's largest such festivals, it takes place every Labor Day weekend (leading up to and including the first Monday of September) at the 74-acre (299,000 m²) Seattle Center, which was built for the 1962 World's Fair. Seattle Center includes both indoor theaters and outdoor stages. The name of the festival was taken from bumbershoot, a colloquial term for umbrella, probably coined in the 19th century as a portmanteau of the words umbrella and parachute.

Carl Garner Federal Lands Cleanup Day

Carl Garner Federal Lands Cleanup Day is a day observed in the United States to encourage nationwide citizen participation in the cleanup of federal lands. It occurs on the first Saturday after Labor Day, and may include a variety of programs, ceremonies, and activities. It was created in 1985 by the Federal Lands Cleanup Act as the "Federal Lands National Cleanup Day" and renamed in 1995 to honor Carl Garner and continue and expand his work of encouraging citizens to clean up Greers Ferry Lake and Little Red River in Arkansas.

Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500

The Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 is a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stock car race held at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. The race is sponsored by QuikTrip, along with the nonprofit organization Folds of Honor, and is run as the second race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

This race was originally Atlanta's second race of the season and was run as a late season event for much of its history. From 1987 until 2001, the race was scheduled in November as the final race of the NASCAR season. From 2002 until 2008, the race was moved to October in favor of awarding the final race weekend to Homestead-Miami Speedway and became part of what is now the NASCAR Chase for the Championship in 2004. In 2009, Atlanta swapped fall race dates with Auto Club Speedway and the race was moved to Labor Day weekend. From 2011 onward, this has been Atlanta's only race date as its spring race was moved to Kentucky Speedway and run later in the year.

In the most recent round of schedule changing, NASCAR elected to move the Labor Day weekend race back to Darlington Raceway, which hosted the Southern 500 on that weekend from 1950 until 2003, and moved Atlanta's lone date back to the early season.

International Workers' Day

International Workers' Day, also known as Workers' Day, Labour Day in some countries and often referred to as May Day, is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement which occurs every year on May Day (1 May), an ancient European spring festival.The date was chosen by a pan-national organization of socialist and communist political parties to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886. The 1904 Sixth Conference of the Second International, called on "all Social Democratic Party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace."The first of May is a national, public holiday in many countries across the world, in most cases as "Labour Day", "International Workers' Day" or some similar name – although some countries celebrate a Labour Day on other dates significant to them, such as the United States and Canada, which celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday of September.

Labor Day (film)

Labor Day is a 2013 American drama film based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Joyce Maynard. Directed by Jason Reitman, the film stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. The film was co-produced by Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush, premiering at the Telluride Film Festival on August 29, 2013, and was a Special Presentation at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was released in the United States on January 31, 2014.

Labour Day

Labour Day (Labor Day in the United States) is an annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

For most countries, Labour Day is synonymous with, or linked with, International Workers' Day, which occurs on 1 May. For other countries, Labour Day is celebrated on a different date, often one with special significance for the labour movement in that country. Labour Day is a public holiday in many countries.

In Canada and the United States, the holiday is celebrated on the first Monday of September and considered the unofficial end of summer, with summer vacations ending and students returning to school around then.

Labour Day Classic

The Labour Day Classic is a particular week of the Canadian Football League (CFL) schedule that is played over the Labour Day weekend (which includes the first Monday in September). Labour Day weekend, roughly 12 weeks into the CFL season, is known for its matchups that do not change from year to year, unlike other "rivalry" weeks of the CFL schedule. Labour Day weekend is also one of typically two weeks (the Thanksgiving Day Classic being the other) in the CFL schedule that the league plays on a Monday. Mark's is the presenting sponsor of the event as of 2014.

The current weekend matchups involve the Winnipeg Blue Bombers visiting the Saskatchewan Roughriders on the Sunday and on Labour Day itself, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats play at home against the Toronto Argonauts, while the Edmonton Eskimos visit the Calgary Stampeders. The Montreal Alouettes would normally play against the Ottawa Redblacks on the Thursday or Friday, but both teams were given a bye week in 2019. The BC Lions have no geographic rival and typically have a bye on Labour Day, as they do in 2019.

National Grandparents Day

National Grandparents Day is a secular holiday celebrated in various countries, with official recognition in some, and occurring on various days of the year, either as one holiday or sometimes as a separate Grandmothers' Day and Grandfathers' Day (see below for dates by country).

Southern Illinois 100

The Southern Illinois 100 is an ARCA Racing Series stock car race held annually on the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds Racetrack during the DuQuoin State Fair on Labor Day weekend.

Telluride Film Festival

The Telluride Film Festival (TFF) is a film festival held annually in Telluride, Colorado during Labor Day weekend.

Texas Southern Tigers football

The Texas Southern Tigers is the college football team representing Texas Southern University, a historically black university (HBCU) in Houston. The Tigers play in the NCAA's Division I FCS as a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), a conference whose members are all HBCUs. In 2012, the Tigers moved into the new BBVA Compass Stadium, built for the city's Major League Soccer team, the Houston Dynamo. It replaced the Alexander Durley Sports Complex as the home of Tiger football. On December 3, 2015, Houston native Michael Haywood was hired as the Tigers' 16th all-time head coach.

The Grunt

"The Grunt" is a funk instrumental recorded in 1970 by James Brown's band The J.B.'s. It was released as a two-part single on King. It was one of only two instrumental singles recorded by the original J.B.'s lineup with Bootsy and Catfish Collins. Large parts of "The Grunt"'s melody and arrangement are borrowed, uncredited, from The Isley Brothers' song "Keep on Doin'", which was released earlier in the same year.

Part 1 of "The Grunt" was included on The J.B.'s' 1972 album Food for Thought.

The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon

The MDA Labor Day Telethon was an annual telethon held on (starting the night before and throughout) Labor Day in the United States to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). The Muscular Dystrophy Association was founded in 1950 with hopes of gaining the American public's interest. The show was hosted by comedian, actor, singer and filmmaker Jerry Lewis from its 1966 inception until 2010. The history of MDA's telethon dates back to the 1950s, when the Jerry Lewis Thanksgiving Party for MDA raised funds for the organization's New York City area operations. The telethon was held annually on Labor Day weekend beginning in 1966, and would raise $2.45 billion for MDA from its inception through 2009.The telethon would broadcast for up to 21½ hours, starting on the Sunday evening preceding Labor Day and continuing until late Monday afternoon on the holiday itself. MDA called its network of participating stations the "Love Network". The show originated from Las Vegas for 28 of the years it was broadcast. Beginning in 2011, coinciding with Lewis' controversial departure, MDA radically reformatted and shortened the telethon's format into that of a benefit concert, shortening the length of the special each successive year. The 2011 edition was seen on the Sunday evening before Labor Day for six hours. This edition was syndicated to approximately 160 television stations throughout the United States on September 4, 2011.Nigel Lythgoe, Jann Carl, Alison Sweeney and Nancy O'Dell were brought on as co-hosts, and shared hosting duties for the 2011 edition. Successive telethons from 2012 to 2014 ran under the new title MDA Show of Strength and further reduced the show's airtime. The 2012 edition aired on Sunday, September 2, 2012; the job of renaming the new show was given to MDA's advertising agency E.B. Lane (now LaneTerralever). Executive creative director Mark Itkowitz came up with the name MDA Show of Strength, and it quickly gained internal approval. The 2012 edition was reduced to three hours as a primetime-only broadcast. The telethon aired at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time, and was seen live in the Eastern and Central time zones. The 2012 edition did not refer to itself as a "telethon."

The 2013 Show of Strength discontinued the long-standing format of being syndicated to individual stations of varying network affiliation and aired on a major national network instead of being syndicated to individual stations, airing on ABC on Sunday, September 1, 2013, and running two hours. The final edition aired on ABC on August 31, 2014, again as a two-hour special, beginning at 9PM ET/PT. It was announced on May 1, 2015 that the MDA would be discontinuing the annual event for good.

United States Holidays, observances, and celebrations in the United States
American Heart Month
Black History Month
Irish-American Heritage Month
National Colon Cancer Awareness Month
Women's History Month
Confederate History Month
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Jewish American Heritage Month
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Pride Month
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Hispanic Heritage Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Disability Employment Awareness Month
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Varies (year round)

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