What IS Labor Day, Anyway?

Maybe it’s just me, but when my kindergartner wanted to know why she had Labor Day off from school, I was a little tongue-tied. I’m never quite sure why exactly we have Labor Day! If you’re in the same pickle as I am, here are some resources for you.

From Time for Kids:

A New York City carpenter named Peter McGuire is credited for coming up the idea for Labor Day. In 1872, after working many long hours under poor conditions, McGuire rallied 100,000 workers to go on strike. The workers marched through the streets of New York City, demanding a better work environment.

McGuire spent a decade fighting for worker’s rights. In 1882, he proposed the idea to create a special holiday for workers. On Tuesday, September 5, 1882, more than 10,000 workers hit the streets of New York City for the first ever Labor Day parade. Two years later the celebration was moved to the first Monday in September. And in 1894, Congress passed a law making Labor Day a national holiday.

Read the whole Time for Kids article to get a little more background.

Here is a great video from the History Channel about the history of Labor Day as well. Watch it with your kids. (No language but a brief show/mention of violence against a strike.)

I thought it was funny they chose September to fill the long holiday-less gap between the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful holiday!

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