History of Labor Day – Why do we celebrate Labor Day?

Labor Day is celebrated as a federal holiday in United States on the first Monday of September month every year. It is celebrated as the significant holiday that marks the enormous contributions the labor force add to the potency and prosperity of any nation. The day is only celebrated on different days and manners in different countries, but this does not fades away its importance.

Labor Day

Why do we celebrate Labor Day?


The genesis of the American Labor Day dates back to the year 1882, when on September 5, the Knights of Labor in the United States organized a parade in the New York City. They earned their inspiration from the annual labor parade held in Toronto, Canada. And then in 1884, after another parade was held, the Knights resolved to make this an annual event.

Other notable labor organizations, like the affiliates of the International Workingmen’s Association celebrated May 1 as the labor holiday. But after the Chicago ‘s Haymarket riots in early May of 1886, President Grover Cleveland suspected it to become an opportunity for riots, quickly moved in favor of the Knights of Labor and their date for Labor Day in 1887.


An old custom prohibits the wearing of white after Labor Day. The custom is rooted in nothing more than popular fashion etiquette. In actuality, the etiquette originally stated that white shoes were the taboo while white or “winter white” clothes were acceptable. This custom is fading from popularity as it continues to be questioned and challenged, particularly by leaders in the fashion world. “Fashion magazines are jumping on this growing trend, calling people who ‘dare’ to wear white after Labor Day innovative, creative, and bold. Slowly but surely, white is beginning to break free from its box, and is becoming acceptable to wear whenever one pleases. This etiquette is also compared to the Canadian fashion rule of not wearing green after Remembrance Day.


  • Labor Day Bridge Walk – Led by the Governor of Michigan, the residents of the state of Michigan walk across the Mackinac Bridge early in the morning on Labor Day every year
  • Boomsday – Fireworks display and festival on the Tennessee River in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Riverfest – Fireworks and festival in Cincinnati, Ohio sponsored by radio station WEBN that draws over 500,000 visitors.
  • Bumbershoot – A well known festival in Seattle, Washington held at Seattle Center.
  • Chataqua – A popular festival in Pampa, Texas held in Central Park.
  • Victory Square Block Party – An infamous festival in Vancouver held in the eponymous park.
  • Labor Day Parade and Harvest of Fun – Lowell, Indiana, oldest Labor Day parade in Indiana Activities.

Apart from these, Labor Day is by and large considered a resting day and unlike its counterpart the May Day, like it is celebrated in majority of the world, political demonstrations are a rare occurrence. The celebration might just include day trip, cook-on-a-spit lunches, fireworks shows, water sports and events similar to public entertainment. This is also seen as the last chance by families with school going children to travel before the end of summer.

All in all, its is purely a time to take a break and feel the real spirit of the eventful past of American labor movement and pay individual tribute to the great labor force.