What do you associate with Labor Day? No school? Three-day weekend? Barbecues? The end of summer? Pool closings? Technically, all of those are correct, but there’s more to Labor Day weekend than just being able to sleep in.
Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day was created to recognize the efforts and contributions of American workers during the Industrial Revolution, a time when working conditions had few regulations and American workers were often overworked and underpaid from a young age and in unsafe conditions.
The history of Labor Day began when it was celebrated on September 5th in 1882, when 10,000 workers in New York City marched from City Hall to Union Square in the first-ever Labor Day Parade. The idea of the holiday caught on afterward and spread across the country like wildfire. The holiday known as Labor Day was nationally recognized by Congress 12 years later following a major wage strike in Chicago.
Credit for the idea behind Labor Day is given two men–Peter J. McGuire, who co-founded the American Federation of Labor, and a secretary of the Central Labor Union named Matthew McGuire. Either way, the brave workers who fought for their rights during the late 1800s and early 1900s are yours to thank for your relaxing Labor Day weekend.