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Labor Day in United States

Quick Facts

Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States. It gives workers a day of rest and it celebrates their contribution to the American economy.

Local names

NameLanguage
Labor DayEnglish
Día del TrabajoSpanish
See list of observations below
Labor Day is annually held on the first Monday of September. It was originally organized to celebrate various labor associations' strengths of and contributions to the United States economy. It is largely a day of rest in modern times. Many people mark Labor Day as the end of the summer season and a last chance to make trips or hold outdoor events.
labor Day
Labor Day is a day of rest for many people. ©iStockphoto.com/Marisa Allegra Williams

What do people do?

Labor Day is a day of rest or the last chance for many people to go on trips before the summer ends. For students, it is the last chance to organize parties before school starts again. In some neighborhoods, people organize fireworks displays, barbecues and public arts or sports events. The football season starts on or around Labor Day and many teams play their first game of the year during Labor Day weekend.

Traditionally, people did not wear white clothes, particularly shoes, after Labor day. However, this custom is slowly dying out. More and more people now wear white all year round, rather than just in the summer. Similarly, it is the custom to wear a straw cowboy hat from Memorial Day until Labor Day, then a felt one until Memorial Day comes around again.

Public life

Labor Day is a federal holiday. All Government offices, schools and organizations and many businesses are closed. Some public celebrations, such as fireworks displays, picnics and barbecues, are organized, but they are usually low key events. For many teams, it is the start of the football season. As it is the last chance for many people to take summer trips, there may be some congestion on highways and at airports. Public transit systems do not usually operate on their regular timetables.

Background

The first Labor Day was held in 1882. Its origins stem from the desire of the Central Labor Union to create a holiday for workers. It became a federal holiday in 1894. It was originally intended that the day would be filled with a street parade to allow the public to appreciate the work of the trade and labor organizations. After the parade, a festival was to be held to amuse local workers and their families. In later years, prominent men and women held speeches. This is less common now, but is sometimes seen in election years. One of the reasons for choosing to celebrate this on the first Monday in September was to add a holiday in the long gap between Independence Day and Thanksgiving.

About Labor Day in other countries

Read more about Labor Day.

Labor Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
MonSep 11980Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 71981Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 61982Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 51983Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 31984Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 21985Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 11986Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 71987Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 51988Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 41989Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 31990Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 21991Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 71992Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 61993Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 51994Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 41995Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 21996Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 11997Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 71998Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 61999Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 42000Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 32001Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 22002Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 12003Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 62004Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 52005Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 42006Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 32007Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 12008Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 72009Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 62010Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 52011Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 32012Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 22013Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 12014Labor DayNational holiday 
MonSep 72015Labor DayNational holiday 
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