By Mary Shoemaker September 3, 2023

Happy Labor Day! But what is it, and why do we celebrate it? Let’s find out!

Labor Day is a time to appreciate the contributions of the working class and to honor how hard they work to help our country grow and prosper. It is celebrated each year on the first Monday in September and is a national federal holiday in the United States and Canada, which means most people have the day off of work. And, since it always falls on a Monday, it means most people get to celebrate with a three day weekend!

Labor Day was first observed in 1882, during a time when many Americans worked long days in harsh and unsafe work environments for little money. These workers joined together to create unions, which were organized groups created to speak out for the rights of all members. On September 5, 1882, union workers in New York City took an unpaid day off of work to protest the poor working conditions. Afterward, many of the workers stayed behind to eat and enjoy the day off of work with their families -- and that was the first labor day picnic!

Twelve years later, in 1894, Congress passed an act that made Labor Day a national holiday. And that’s why we celebrate today!