Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States of America and Canada every year. This year, the holiday falls on September 4. People rush to the beach or to celebrate with parades, cookouts, and other festive things. They even shop for last minute bargains before their kids go back to school the day after the holiday.

Most people associate Labor Day as a holiday to have fun, and they overlook the real reason the first holiday was established. The word "labor" should give people a big clue, but they take the real meaning of the holiday for granted.

The day is to honor the American labor movement and to pay tribute to those whose contributions and achievements have helped to make America great.

Origin of the holiday

Labor Day is an official national holiday where banks, federal buildings, and other government agencies are closed so employees can celebrate. The holiday was originated in 1882 for workers. New York City held a parade of about 10,000 workers during what was called the first "workingman's holiday."

After that, celebrations spread across the United States, and in 1894 Congress passed the act that made Labor Day the official national holiday that is celebrated across the country today.

President Grover Cleveland signed the bill into law on June 28, 1894.

Instructions went along with observing the first Labor Day. The labor union movement advocated that the 24-hour day be divided into 8-hour increments. There were to be eight hours designated for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. Today, not many people abide by that formula. People work more than eight hours a day.

A lot of people these days do not take eight hours just for recreation, and surely they sleep or rest fewer than eight hours.

While Labor Day is the end of many things, it is also the beginning of some things. For instance, it is the unofficial end of the summer when some beaches and public swimming pools close for the fall. Football starts on or around the holiday, and many teams begin playing their first game of the season.

Observed in other countries

The holiday is celebrated in Canada on the same day it is celebrated in America. Other countries celebrate Labor Day but not on the first Monday in September. May 1 is a national holiday in Russia and Asian countries such as China, Thailand, and Vietnam.

What are you doing to observe the holiday this year?

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