Happy Labor Day! When you think of this holiday — what comes to mind? A three-day weekend? A chance for a brief vacation? A trip to see family and eat BBQ? The official end of summer? I know — me too. But actually — it’s meant to be a tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of America.
Here are some lesser-known facts about the holiday:
1. Labor Day was almost on May 1st
Labor Day signifies the end of summer, but it nearly could’ve been the start. In 1884, the American Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions declared that by May 1, 1886, all employers institute an eight-hour workday. However employers didn’t respect this, causing workers to strike, which lead to the Haymarket Riot in Chicago. President Cleveland was worried that the tainted history of the date would lead to more riots, so in 1894 he moved the holiday to the first Monday in September.
2. Oregon was the first state to make it official
Oregon was the first state to pass a law declaring Labor Day a state holiday permitting the state’s workers to not come in that day.
3. The first Labor Day was on a Tuesday
Yep – the first one was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City.
4. Where did the White on Labor Day fashion faux pas come from?
This fashion tradition started at the beginning of the century when lightweight clothes where a symbol of the leisure class. After Labor Day the wealthy would return from their vacation, retire their summer clothes and head back to school or work. It’s still debatable whether or not it’s OK to wear white after Labor Day.
How are you going to spend your Labor Day?