Labor Day, the first Monday in September, has a long history, and to this day, the founder of the national holiday has not been identified. However, Labor Day was made a national holiday on June 28, 1894 by President Grover Cleveland.
Labor Day started in the peak of the Industrial Revolution, where the average American worked long and strenuous hours just to make a basic living. Many found themselves working 12-hour days, seven days a week, and started at as young as 5 or 6 years old. Working conditions were often extremely unsafe; workers lacked access to fresh air, bathrooms and breaks.
As the Industrial Revolution raged on, labor unions became more prominent and vocal, and began to organize strikes to protest the working conditions and demand better pay. One of the most well-known events, the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1886, turned violent and led to both policemen and workers being killed. Other notable protests include the Pullman Strike of 1894 and the American Railroad Union Strike of 1884.
After being made a national holiday in 1894 as a way to repair ties with the American workers, Labor Day celebrates the contributions of the American workers in the 1800s, as well as the achievements of workers now.
This holiday is still celebrated nationwide and in similar fashion to that of 4th of July. Parades, picnics, barbecues, fireworks, and live music are just some of the ways that Americans pay tribute to workers of the Industrial Revolution.
Many also see it as a representation of the end of summer and the start of school. However you celebrate Labor Day, be sure to check out our blog on the best recipes and ways to celebrate this holiday while being safe!