2016-09-02 / Community

What’s Going On South Portland

Exploring the origins of Labor Day

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summertime fun and a day when thousands of people gather across the country for their final big barbecue blowouts. Labor Day has evolved into a holiday about relaxing with friends and family, and that has led to its origins getting somewhat lost in the celebratory shuffle. Created by the labor movement in the late 19th century, Labor Day was established to highlight the achievements of American workers, both from a social and an economic perspective. Labor Day highlights one of the main benefits of being a citizen of the United States, the ability to have professional freedom and contribute to the prosperity and strength of the country through

gainful employment. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894. Celebrated annually on the first Monday of September, it is believed that Labor Day was first promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, which

also organized the first labor-related parade in New York City. Although the true fathers of Labor Day remain a topic of debate, some historians maintain that Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor put forward the first

Labor Day proposal in May 1882 after witnessing a labor festival in Toronto, Canada. Labor Day was largely celebrated in the past with parades, speeches and a day off of work for the country’s workers.

Return to top