Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September. The holiday originated in 1882 as the Central Labor Union (of New York City) sought to create "a day off for the working citizens".
Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer.
Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States since the 1880s. 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 esprit 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 economic and 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 labor movement.
Today, Labor Day is often regarded as a day of rest and, compared to the May 1 Labour Day celebrationsin most countries, parades, speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key, although especially in election years, events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and appearances by candidates for office. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school. However, as of late, schools have begun well before Labor Day, as early as July 24th in many urban districts, including major southern cities in the United States such as Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles. In addition, Labor Day marks the beginning of the season for the National Football League and NCAA College Football. The NCAA usually plays their first games the weekend of Labor day, with the NFL traditionally playing their first game the Thursday following Labor Day.
The Knights of Labor organized the original parade on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City. In 1884 another parade was held, and the Knights passed resolutions to make this an annual event. Other labor organizations (and there were many), but notably the affiliates of the International Workingmen's Association, many of whom were socialists or anarchists, favored a May 1 holiday. In 1886 came the general strikewhich eventually won the eight-hour workday in the United States. These events are today commemorated as Labor Day in virtually every country in the world, with the notable exceptions being the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. With the Chicago Haymarket riots in early May of 1886, President Grover Cleveland believed that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots. Thus, fearing that it might strengthen the socialist movement, he quickly moved in 1887 to support the position of the Knights of Labor and their date for Labor Day.
More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers. Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."
But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.
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