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Labor Day is often thought of as summer's last hurrah. The holiday weekend usually offers a chance to spend time relaxing with friends and family and enjoying delicious grilling recipes and summery drinks. (Which are prime activities for those final few summer Instagram captions you want to use.) But of course there's a much deeper meaning behind Labor Day.
Labor Day is a time to pay tribute to American workers, and all of their many contributions and achievements through the years. Created by the labor movement in the late 19th century, Labor Day honors the men and women who fought tirelessly for workers' rights, especially the eight-hour work day we have now. So when your Labor Day 2021 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.
By now you may be wondering when is Labor Day in 2021? And what is the history of Labor Day? Find answers to these questions and more below, including the exact date for this year's celebration.
So, when is Labor Day in 2021?
This year, Labor Day falls on Monday, September 6, 2021. This means that Labor Day weekend—the three-day span that encompasses Labor Day—will take place from Saturday, September 4 through Monday, September 6.
Is Labor Day always the first Monday in September?
Yes! So, if you didn't know the date off the top of your head before reading this article, that's why. Though the holiday is always held on the first Monday in September, the calendar date changes each year.
What is the history of Labor Day?
Labor Day became a U.S. federal holiday in 1894, but by that time thirty states already officially celebrated the holiday.
Labor Day was created by members of the labor movement, who organized strikes and rallies to fight for better working conditions amid the Industrial Revolution, according to the History Channel.
On September 5, 1882, New York City union leaders organized what is now considered the country’s first Labor Day parade, according to National Geographic.
On this day, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march through the streets of New York City, in an event culminating in a picnic, fireworks, and dancing. Organizers declared the day “a general holiday for the workingmen of this city.” Their idea spread across the country, and many states passed legislation recognizing the workers' holiday.
It wasn't until 1894, however, that Congress legalized the holiday following the Pullman strike, a nationwide railroad boycott that turned fatal and shined a national spotlight on workers' rights. Amid this massive unrest, Congress sought to make peace with American workers by passing an act making Labor Day a legal holiday. President Grover Cleveland officially signed it into law on June 28, 1894.
More than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day remains unknown, although many credit labor union leader Peter J. McGuire for the idea. The world may never know this detail, but now you know enough about Labor Day to truly celebrate everything it stands for.