Labor Day is finally here, marking the end of the summer season. It’s a day when we celebrate the value of labor and all that has been done through the hard work of building our country.
As the long weekend comes to an end, we’re taking a look at the history and traditions surrounding this holiday.
Founded on June 28, 1894, Labor Day has become one of the busiest travel days of the year. It’s when people take the time to travel to see friends and family before the temperatures drop for good at year’s end.
While it was named a national holiday in 1984, it was celebrated for years beforehand. People held parades and picnics in efforts to gain support for their fight for shorter work days.
In 1882, New York City’s Central Labor Union organized a protest in Wendel’s Elm Park on September 5th. This protest included 10,000 marchers in a parade, followed by speeches, dancing, and fireworks in the evening.
That was the start of Labor Day, held unofficially for the next few years until Oregon became the first state to make the holiday law. A total of 23 states adopted the holiday by 1894, and it was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland that same year.
Other than having a day off from work, there are plenty of traditions that surround Labor Day.
Putting away your white attire is one of the most controversial to some. The tradition came about when, well, no one really knows. White used to symbolize status, as the wealthy wore white during the summer months when workers wore dull colors while working. Also, the end of summer was reflected in a rule that stated white was not to be worn any longer. These was one of the fashion rules possible made up by the upper class, so it might have come from there.
Another tradition for this time of year is traveling to spend time with friends and family. In fact, Labor Day is one of the heaviest traveled times of the year. This being the unofficial end of summer, many people spend the weekend—or just the day—outside grilling, on the lake, hiking, or just relaxing. One last time before the school year starts.
If you’re hosting a get together this weekend, we wish you and yours a Happy Labor Day! Take time to think of the work your ancestors and the early settlers put into building our country and the battles they fought for fair labor laws that enable us to live the life we live today.
Kayleigh is a content writer with a BA in technical writing/literature and an MA in creative writing. When she’s not at work writing, she’s at home writing, reading, or binge-watching television shows… for research, of course. A big do-it-yourselfer and crafter, Kayleigh loves testing out projects and gifting them to friends and family—all in preparation for when she owns her own home one day and decorates with her own personal creations. Her work has appeared on The Writing Cooperative and as an Honorable Mention in East Meets West American Writers Review.