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The History Surrounding Labor Day

So what is Labor Day all about? Labor Day is celebrated in the United States on the first Monday in September. It was originally created by the labor movement and is a celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers.

The first Labor Day in the United States was observed on August 26, 1878, in Boston, by the Central Labor Union of New York, the nation's first integrated major trade union. It became a federal holiday on 28th June 1894 after congress passed an act making the first Monday in September a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories. Until Labor Day became a federal holiday, laborers who chose to participate in parades had to forfeit a day's wages.

Labor Day Parade

A Nationwide Holiday

In the first proposal for the holiday it was outlined that the celebration was to include a street parade followed by a festival, with speeches by prominent men and women introduced later. Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer and is often regarded as a day of rest and parties. In high-society, Labor Day is considered the last day of the year when it is fashionable for women to wear white. In the northern half of the U.S. at least, the summer vacation season begins with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day. Many colleges and some secondary and elementary schools begin classes immediately after Labor Day.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centres where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television. In U.S. sports, Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons. NCAA teams usually play their first games the week before Labor Day, with the NFL traditionally playing their first game the Thursday following Labor Day.