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The History of Labor Day

The History of Labor Day



Whether you’re going to sit back and relax, or join in on the festivities, Labor Day Weekend is a holiday for everyone to enjoy.  Considered an unofficial end to the summer season and the start of fall festivities, Labor Day also has an important history behind it.  This article looks at what transpired before this day became a national celebration.

As the idea and implementation of trade unions spread across the world in the 19th century, members of trade unions proposed celebrating workers’ contributions. Workers all over the world were putting in hours, positively affecting each of their nation’s economy, society and growth.  It was time to honor their efforts.  Over 80 nations around the world started celebrating Labor Day (or International Workers’ Day) on May 1, which is linked to May Day, an ancient European spring festival.  Other countries chose other dates to celebrate Labor Day.  Here in the United States and in Canada, September was designated for this event.  There is a lot of dispute over who first proposed a Labor Day holiday in the United States.  Some say Peter Maguire, the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners first proposed the holiday in 1882.  However others say that Matthew Maguire, secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists (Paterson, New Jersey) proposed a Labor Day holiday that same year.

Regardless of who proposed it, the idea of a Labor Day holiday was adopted and celebrated in a few states before it became a federal holiday in 1894, and by then thirty states were celebrating Labor Day. On June 28, 1894 an act was passed making Labor Day the first Monday of September. It is marked with a variety of activities like parades and concerts for people to enjoy, while others take this time to go on extended vacations.  Staying home or going out, have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the holiday!

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