A holiday celebrated on the first Monday of September in the United States and Canada. It's generally used today as a marker for the end of summer vacation and a good excuse for a three-day weekend and department store sales.

Labor Day was first suggested by Peter McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, although some say it was actually proposed by Matthew Maguire, secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. It was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1882 when the Knights of Labor held a parade in New York to recognize the achievements and efforts of the labor movement. The Knights passed a resolution to hold the parade every year on the first Monday of September.

During the remainder of the 1880s, a time when the U.S. labor movement was gaining strength in every major city, labor organizations lobbied their state legislatures to designate Labor Day an official state holiday. In 1887 it was established as such in Oregon, Colorado, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. By 1894 it was recognized by Congress as a national holiday.

Labor Day.

In most of the States and Territories of the United States, a day, usually the first Monday of September, set aside as a legal holiday, in honor of, or in the interest of, workingmen as a class. Also, a similar holiday in Canada, Australia, etc.


© Webster 1913

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