However, what is Labor Day …never heard of it said one of my friends when asking me what it is, and another friend in the USA, asked me if we have Labor Day in England.
So, if you were asked what is Labor Day? Do you really know? As far as the American holiday is concerned many British people know no more than it is a long weekend over the first Monday in September and considered to be the official end of summer, the beaches and water resorts stay open for a last summer celebration, and a tradition used to be that you didn’t wear white clothes or shoes after Labor Day. The day used to also coincide with the start of the new school year after the summer holidays but more schools now return in mid or late August.
The tradition of celebrating Labor Day as a national holiday across the USA goes back over 100 years. It began in 1882 in New York as a parade by the Knights of Columbus to give credit for the contributions to New York life of working class citizens. In 1884, a parade was held by the Knights celebrating the working class. The date chosen was the first Monday in September, and then the Knights decided to hold all such future parades on this day, and from then on the first Monday in September was seen as Labor Day.
The Socialist Party also held a celebration to commemorate the working class, this was on May 1st and became known as May Day. Both the Socialists and Communists celebrated it and so in the United States the first Monday in September was chosen to remove the Communist associations.
This May Day celebration is more in line with the May Day observances held in the UK and many other countries on or around May 1st. This celebration has origins as a pagan celebration of the end of winter and start of summer, closely associated with fertility, but was taken over as a celebration to honour workers. The First Monday in May is a holiday in the UK … http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/uk/early-may-bank-holiday. Many places in the UK have ancient traditions surrounding May Day, involving such things as dancing around May poles and crowning a May Queen .
In the 20th century May Day has also become linked to International Workers’ Day in Great Britain, even though the holiday is not officially a “Labour Day”. In London the May Day march and rally, organised by the London May Day Committee (South East Region Trades Councils), gather together in Clerkenwell Green near the Marx Memorial Library before marching to Trafalgar Square for a rally with speeches from representatives of local, national and international trades unions and campaigning organisations. This event always takes place on May 1 with the intention to reinstate May 1, regardless of what day it falls on, as a national holiday.
Toward the end of the last decade of the nineteenth century, Labor organisations were lobbying for Labor Day to be observed as an official state holiday in the USA. The first states to do so in 1887, were Oregon, Colorado, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. In 1894, Congress passed the law that made Labor Day an official national holiday.
Labor Day is celebrated in the USA and in Canada on the same day , though called Labour Day due to the differences between American and British English , it is also celebrated in many other countries around the world , although the dates differ , it is mainly either the first Monday in September , or in May , or the 1st May itself . While May Day has its roots in ancient celebrations of the coming of summer and fertility rites and May 1st is associated with being a day to celebrate workers, Labor Day is a day that officially ends the summer season, but all of these celebrations have come to have links to celebrating the achievements of work and the working class.