16 Facts about Labor Day

The 121st observance of Labor Day is Monday, September 7, which means Labor Day weekend is only a day away.  Although Congress first voted to make Labor Day a holiday in 1894, the story is so much more than just that.  This weekend as people around the country are celebrating the American worker with one final picnic, barbecue or lake retreat before the fall, we’ll give you a few facts about Labor Day and its history in our country.  Just in case anyone asks!

  1. Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September each year in the United States.
  2. Labor Day actually began in Canada in 1872.
  3. Twelve years before the Congressional declaration of the Labor Day holiday, Labor Day was first celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882. It was actually a Tuesday.
  4. The first Labor Day was observed with a parade of 10,000 workers who took unpaid leave and marched through the streets of New York ending with a concert, speeches and picnics.
  5. Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day a holiday in 1887.
  6. Labor Day celebrates the approximately 155 million men and women currently in the U.S. workforce.
  7. In the 1800s, Americans worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks to make a basic living. Children as young as 5-6 worked in factories and mines.
  8. The 8-hour work day was established in 1916 when the Adamson Act was passed. The Adamson Act was the first federal law regulating hours of workers in private companies.
  9. The first person to propose a Labor Day holiday is disputed. Some say it was Peter McGuire, a carpenter and the co-founder of the American Federation of Labor.  Others think it was Matthew Maguire, a machinist.
  10. New York City still hosts a Labor Day parade taking place 20 blocks north of the original 1882 labor march route.
  11. Many other countries celebrate a holiday honoring working people on May 1st.
  12. California has the greatest number of union members – 2.4 million.
  13. Teachers are the largest group of union workers nationwide.
  14. Grover Cleveland was the President who declared Labor Day to be observed on the first Monday of September.
  15. Labor Day is the traditional end of summer around the U.S. Many parts of the country begin school after Labor Day.  Most pools close after the Labor Day weekend.  It is typically the beginning weekend for college football games.
  16. Traditionally, Labor Day is the last day to wear white. This tradition is said to come from members of the upper class who would return from their summer vacations and put away their white and lightweight summer clothes.

It’s a good thing we don’t practice that last one anymore, because the SmartKnitKIDS team would hate to tell you to put away your white SmartKnitKIDS socks!  But, in case you want to bulk up on your socks of other colors for your post Labor Day wardrobe, you know where to find them!  Save 20% when on your orders this weekend!

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