Monday, September 5, 2011

Seven Quick Facts About Labor Day

1. What is Labor Day?

Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the contributions of America's workforce.

2. No one knows who started it.

There is still some doubt as to who is actually the first person to propose the holiday for workers.

3. America's 1st Labor Day.

The first Labor Day celebration in the United States can be traced to New York City's Union Square on Sept. 5, 1882. It was designed as a way to appease city workers after numerous strikes and in some cases even violence.

4. Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday in 1887.

By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day.

5. A rejection of Communism.

President Eisenhower designated May 1 as both Law Day and Loyalty Day. Each of these were specifically aimed at replacing the communist holiday with a religious or patriotic one. In many countries, May Day is also Labor Day.

6. No white clothes the day after the holiday.

In the early 20th century, white was the uniform of choice for Americans well-to-do enough to decamp from their city digs to warmer climates for months at a time: light summer clothing provided a pleasing contrast to drabber urban life. If you look at any photograph of any city in America in the 1930s, you'll see people in dark clothes. By contrast, the white linen suits and Panama hats at snooty resorts were a look of leisure.

7. End of summer.

Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer.

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