Do you know the history of Labor Day? As we celebrate this “end of summer” holiday I thought it would be interesting to do a little research to learn more about Labor Day and how it came to be a national holiday. I found the following Q & As on the website of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Q: What’s the history of Labor Day? How did it all begin?
A: The Labor Day holiday is interesting because it evolved over a period of years. In 19th century America, there was already a tradition of having parades, picnics and various other celebrations in support of labor issues, such as shorter hours or to rally strikers. But most historians emphasize one specific event in the development of today’s modern Labor Day. That pivotal event was the parade of unions and a massive picnic that took place in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882.
After that major event in New York City, other localities began to pick up the idea for a fall festival of parades and picnics celebrating workers.
Q: When did it become a national holiday and why?
A: Labor Day as a national, legal holiday had an interesting evolution. The legalized celebration of Labor Day began as individual state celebrations. In 1887, New York, New Jersey and Colorado were among the first states to approve state legal holidays. Then other states joined in to create their own state Labor Days. Finally, in response to a groundswell of support for a national holiday celebrating the nation’s workers, Sen. James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota introduced S. 730 to the 53rd Congress to make Labor Day a legal holiday on the first Monday of September each year. It was approved on June 28, 1894.
You can read more about the history of Labor Day at the Department of Labor’s website, http://www.dol.gov/laborday.
Kimberly Hanes is a writer with a passionate love for words and ideas and extensive experience in business communications and event planning.
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