Labor Day is often thought of as summer’s “final send off.” The holiday weekend usually offers a chance to spend time hanging out and enjoying time with all of your family and friends. It’s the perfect time to do any of those last minute summer time things that you missed out on over the last few months. Labor Day Weekend is a long weekend that is very bittersweet, as it means a long weekend to have fun, but also means summer is ending and it’s time to move on. And while we normally have these correlations to this specific weekend, we must remember there is a much deeper meaning behind Labor Day.
The Meaning Behind Labor Day
So, what exactly is Labor Day and where does it come from? Essentially, Labor Day is a time where we pay tribute to American workers, and all of their contributions and achievements that they have worked so hard to get done over the years. This holiday was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and is dedicated to honor the men and women who fought tirelessly for workers’ rights, especially the eight-hour work day we have now. So this year when your Labor Day celebration is in full swing, be sure to take some time out to reflect and pay respect to all the workers, past and present, who have made America the country it is today.
In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked around 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to be able maintain basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, even children as young as 5 or 6 were working in factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. To make matters even worse, most people were often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.
In the wake of all of the protests and uprise that began to arise after people started demanding better working hours and conditions, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories as a way to put this to rest. On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed it into law. However, over a a century later, the true founder of Labor Day has still not actually been identified.
Did you notice that Labor Day is always the first Monday of September? Well, this was actually done on purpose. There is something known as “The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968,” which changed several holidays to ensure they would always be observed on Mondays so that federal employees could have more three-day weekends. This Act, which was signed into law on June 28, 1968, resulted in moving President’s Day, Memorial Day, and Columbus Day to fixed Mondays each year!
When is Labor Day?
This year, Labor Day falls on Monday, September 6, 2021! So, this would make Labor Day weekend, which is the three-day span that Labor Day is recognized, will take place from Saturday, September 4 through Monday, September 6.