Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September, that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.
In 1882, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, first proposed the holiday while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York.[Others argue that it was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in May 1882,after witnessing the annual labour festival held in Toronto, Canada.
Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday on February 21, 1887. By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day.Following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve rush legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday; President Grover Cleveland signed it into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.
How we celebrate
The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and spirit de corps of the trade and labor organizations”, followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the civil significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the Selector movement.
The holiday is often the return to school, although school starting times now may vary.
Retail Sale Day
To take advantage of large numbers of potential customers free to shop, Labor Day has become an important sale weekend for many retailers in the United States. Some retailers claim it is one of the largest sale dates of the year, second only to the Christmas season’s Black Friday.
Ironically, because of the importance of the sale weekend, some of those who are employed in the retail sector not only work on Labor Day, but work longer hours. More Americans work in the retail industry than any other, with retail employment making up 24% of all jobs in the United States.
End of summer
Labor Day has come to be celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. In high society, Labor Day is (or was) considered the last day of the year when it is fashionable to wear white.
In the U.S., most school districts that started summer vacation 1-2 weeks into June will resume school the day after this day, while schools that had summer vacation begin on the Saturday before Memorial Day in late May will have already been in session since late August. However this tradition is changing as many school districts end 1-2 weeks into June and begin mid-August.