It’s back-to-school time for kids. The days are getting shorter and the weather is slowly starting to change. Thankfully, we have one last holiday to celebrate the unofficial end of summer. While Labor Day may have originated as a day to recognize worker rights, today in the United States, it has become a day for BBQs and block parties.
Before firing up that grill, here are a few facts about Labor Day that you might not know.
1. The American Labor Day is thought to have originated in Canada. In 1872 in Toronto, a large rally was held demanding rights for workers. Demonstrators held a ‘Nine-Hour Movement’ to show support for striking workers.
2. In the United States, the first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. The event was planned by the Central Labor Union, and included a parade of about 10,000 workers. After the parade, marchers and their families met in Wendel’s Elm Park for a picnic, concert, and various speeches.
3. In 1887, Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day a legal holiday.
4. On June 28th, 1894, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday to be celebrated on the first Monday of September.
5. Labor Day originally was meant to recognize the contributions of the American workforce, and it had strong ties to the labor union movement. Today, it is seen more as a chance to celebrate the (unofficial) last weekend of summer.
6. Throughout much of the 19th century, it was common for American laborers to work 12-hour days to make a living. Children often worked in factories and mines, and there were few regulations to support workers. On September 3, 1916, the Adamson Act was passed by Congress, establishing an eight-hour work day.
7. As Labor Day has often been seen as the unofficial end of summer, many upper class citizens would pack away their lightweight, white summer clothes as they returned back to work and school. This had led to the expression no white after Labor Day.
8. In many other countries around the world, workers and labor rights are recognized on May 1st, also known as May Day.
9. Labor Day marks the end of peak hot dog season. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans eat roughly 7 billion hot dogs. After Labor Day, many Americans will start obsessing over pumpkin spice. Anyone care for a pumpkin spice hot dog?
10. Labor Day is also the unofficial start of football season in the United States. Many college teams will play their first game at some point during Labor Day weekend, and the NFL will start playing games shortly after. Labor Day is also viewed as the last day of vacation before the start of the new school year.
Know any other interesting bits of Labor Day trivia? Let us know in the comment section below.
Mark Heald is an Associate Product Manager and Sporcle Admin. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and bemoaning the fact the Sonics left Seattle.