The first Monday in September is celebrated nationally as Labor Day. But have you ever wondered why we celebrate it or why you can’t wear white after Labor Day? Well, here are 7 fun facts about Labor Day!
The idea first became public in 1882
In September 1882, the unions of New York City decided to have a parade to celebrate their members being in unions, and to show support for all unions. At least 20,000 people were at the parade, and the workers had to give up a day’s pay to attend. There is still a Labor Day parade in New York City, which takes place throughout the 20 blocks north of the 1882 labor march.
Two people are credited with that first New York City event
Matthew Maguire, a machinist, and Peter McGuire, a carpenter, have been linked to the 1882 parade. The men were from rival unions; in 2011, Linda Stinson, a former U.S. Department of Labor’s historian, said she didn't know which man should be credited - partially because people over the years confused them because of their similar-sounding names.
The New York parade inspired other unions
By 1887, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Colorado made Labor Day a state holiday. Oregon was the first state to celebrate Labor Day as a legal holiday.
Grover Cleveland helped make Labor Day a national holiday
Cleveland signed an act in 1894 establishing the federal holiday; most states had already passed laws establishing a Labor Day holiday by that point. Sen. James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota introduced S. 730 to make Labor Day a federal legal holiday on the first Monday of September. It was approved on June 28, 1894.
The holiday has evolved over the years
Now the holiday is a wider celebration that honors organized labor with fewer parades, and more activities. It also marks the perceived end of the summer season.
Can you wear white after Labor Day?
This old tradition goes back to the late Victorian era, where it was a fashion mistake to wear any white clothing after the summer officially ended on Labor Day. Historians would also say the expression “no white after Labor Day” comes from when the upper class would return from their summer vacations and stow away their lightweight, white summer clothes as they returned back to school and work. The tradition isn’t really followed anymore. So it’s all personal preference. You can wear whatever you want to wear!
Labor Day is the unofficial end
of Hot Dog season
The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says that between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans will eat 7 billion hot dogs!