Today is Labor Day, a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 3 in 2012) that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. It also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events.
The holiday originated in 1882 but stories differ as to who was actually responsible for it. Many people believe the holiday originated when Matthew Maguire, a machinist, proposed the holiday while then serving as secretary of the CLU (Central Labor Union) of New York. Others however argue that it was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor after witnessing an annual labor festival held in Toronto, Canada. Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday in 1887 and by the time it became a federal holiday seven years later in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day.
The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parties. Speeches or political demonstrations are common, although events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and appearances by candidates for office, especially in election years like this one.
Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events. Families with school-age children often take Labor Day as the last chance to travel due to the resulting three day weekend.
Here’s wishing everyone a happy, safe and hopefully restful Labor Day 2012!