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Nice to Know: 5 Facts about Labor Day

Many people living in the United States look forward to Labor Day because it definitely means an extra weekend to enjoy more personal time and perhaps a short vacation with friends and family. However, this holiday symbolizes more than just the ultimate long weekend or the end of summer or the beginning of fall.

Let the true meaning of this special day not be lost by honoring all the working people in America as well as their achievements and contribution to the country. Here are some facts about Labor Day to kick off your long weekend holiday:

  1. The first U.S. Labor Day parade was on a Tuesday.

The very first Labor Day was celebrated in September 5, 1882 — a Tuesday. About 10,000 workers marched from the City Hall to Wendel’s Elm Park in New York City where they gathered for a concert, picnic, and speeches. These workers took unpaid leave to make the event happen.

  1. It was only in 1984 when Congress made the first Monday of September a legal holiday.

On June 28, 1984, Congress passed the act that would make the first Monday of September an official holiday. The first week of September was chosen for Labor Day because it was between the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving.

  1. Americans worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week during the Industrial Revolution.

It wasn’t until 1916 when the Adamson Act was passed, which regulated the hours that people worked in private companies. It was the first federal law that aimed to do such a thing, as it instituted an eight-hour workday in the entire country.

  1. Peter McGuire is the Father of Labor Day holiday.

Peter McGuire, an Irish-American pioneer unionist, is considered the Father of Labor Day holiday. He wanted workers who labored all year long to be recognized and to have a day when they can just rest and relax.

  1. Traditionally, people are not supposed to wear white after Labor Day.

We know what you’re thinking! White is such a classy color — how can it be unacceptable? Well, the story begins with the wives of the upper-class society after the Civil War. As more and more people became wealthy, it was harder to differentiate the old money people from the ones who had just acquired new money.

In order to tell the difference, high-society women who were already “in” created a bunch of fashion rules that should be followed by everyone in the know. At first, only a few hundred ladies took it to heart. However, by the 1950s, women’s magazines made it clear that white clothing should go away on Labor Day.

Good thing, the practice is no longer strictly enforced these days. People don’t make so much fuss about what color to wear and when they should do so. We are all free to choose clothes that are comfortable for us, regardless of their hues.

This Labor Day, be sure to make a toast to all hardworking laborers — and feel free to wear white all year round!


Gladdys Garcia

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