For most of us Labor Day is the official last day of summer marked by a long weekend where most of us kickback and enjoy our final barbeque of the season. But what is it really?
Did you know that Labor Day was first celebrated in 1882 in New York City after labor leader Pete McGuire saw a similar festivity in Toronto for the celebration of Trade Union Act in Canada which began in 1872? So yes, we copied off our northern neighbor.
Were you aware that President Grover Cleveland proclaimed the day a national holiday in 1894 after several workers were killed in the Pullman Train strike by the U.S. Military. It was supposed to be an appeasement to the workers after the violent act against railroad strikers.
Did you know it was the first holiday to be celebrated with a parade?
Did you realize President Cleveland decided to have Labor Day at the end of summer so as to not associate the holiday with May Day celebrations found around the globe? May Day had been associated with violent labor movements throughout the world including the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, which was designated as International Workers Day in the U.S. Workers were shot and killed by the Chicago police force for protesting for an eight-hour work day.
It also is the start of the NFL and College football season. So grab a burger and set the dial to your favorite football game, but take time to remember the holiday’s roots starting over 100 years ago.