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Though summer's end is technically in late September, Labor Day weekend often signals the transition from the warm, languid months to the busy start of fall. Families may mark it as the weekend before the new school year or the last chance to swim before pools are closed for the season. More than anything else, it's a chance to spend some quality time with friends and family, and enjoy delicious grilled food. (And, of course, snap some pictures for your final summer Instagram captions.) This year will mark Labor Day's 140th anniversary in America, and while there are numerous variations celebrated around the world, ours has its own unique history and meaning.
Many of the rights we enjoy and take for granted today, were hard-fought wins by the labor movement of the late 19th century. Labor Day was created to honor the women and men who campaigned tirelessly for workers' rights, such as a 40-hour work week, safe work conditions, paid time off, and sick leave. (Can you imagine what it was like before?!) They saw that there could be no freedom and liberty in this country without economic freedom for the working class. The holiday honors the source of this nation's strength—American workers, unions, and labor leaders. No matter how you decide to celebrate Labor Day 2022, take some time to reflect and pay tribute to all the laborers, past and present, who helped build America and make it the country it is today.
By now you may be wondering when is Labor Day in 2022? 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 2022?
This year, Labor Day falls on Monday, September 5, 2022. This means that Labor Day weekend—the three-day span that encompasses Labor Day—will take place from Saturday, September 3 through Monday, September 5.
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. Strangely enough, The Department of Labor was created after Labor Day became a holiday, and it was the first department to be led by a woman: Francis Perkins.
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.