Labor Day in the US: when is it celebrated and is it a national holiday?
This year Labor Day is going to be celebrated on 7 September in the United States and it is a federal holiday to honor and recognize the American labor movement.
Labor Day is a federal holiday that’s celebrated on the first Monday of September and this year it falls on the 7th to recognize the American labor movement and the works and contribution of laborers to the development and achievements of the United States.
When did it start?
The labor movement started in the late 19th century and became an official federal holiday in 1894. This holiday also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans and like any long weekend it is celebrated with parties, parades and all sorts of events.
During the industrial revolution in the late 1800’s the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-days a week just to make ends meet. In many states around the country children could start working from 5-years and upwards in the mills, factories and mines just to earn a fraction of what adults made.
Work conditions were unsafe, no full access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks. As manufacturing work started to outgrow agriculture work, in the late 18th century workers started organizing strikes and rallies to protest the poor work conditions, the long hours and the amount of days they worked.
Protests across the country
There were protests all over the country and some even turned violent. On 5 September, 1882, roughly ten thousand workers took unpaid time to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York. This event is known as the first Labor Day parade in the history of this holiday.
It took Congress 12 years to legalize the holiday. On 28 June, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed it into law and after all this time it is not known who was the original founder of Labor Day.
Coronavirus pandemic could be a factor
Given that we are in the middle of a pandemic, each holiday that it is celebrated in the United States prompt fear from health experts that there could be an increase in cases just as the curve seems to be flattening in many states.
Currently there are more than 6 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and over 180,000 deaths in the United States. There was a spike in cases after the celebration of Memorial Day and Fourth of July so we could see a new surge two weeks after Labor Day weekend.