Labor Day is an important historical federal holiday celebrated on the first Monday of September in the United States. As such, all schools, government offices, organizations, and many businesses are closed on this day. Its origins are as a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country. In the early 1880's labor unions in New York City first organized parades in celebration of the labor force after seeing the success of a similar holiday held in Canada. In 1887 the holiday became official in the U.S. Now more than 80 other countries celebrate a similar annual holiday, called International Workers Day, on May 1st. Click for a fun and informational History Channel Video of this American tradition. Not only does Labor Day serve as a celebration of the labor force in the U.S. today, but also as a marker for the end of summer, beginning of school, and start of the fall sports season.
Labor Day has come to be celebrated by most Americans as a symbolic end of summer. In the U.S. many school classes end their summer break and begin the school year after the Labor Day holiday, allowing families one last three-day weekend before the school year begins. The start of fall sports in the U.S. is also marked by this holiday. The National (American) Football League (or NFL) and National College Athletic Association (NCAA) starting their seasons and playing their first games the week of Labor Day.
Traditionally people did not wear white clothes, particularly shoes, (especially those of high society) after this date as it marked the close of summer and summer wardrobes. Nowadays this trend is slowly dying out as fashion trends now tend to include white clothing in styles for all seasons.
Privately, in many neighborhoods people take the opportunity to celebrate the last chance for summer outdoor parties such as BBQs, cookouts, and general festivities (to read more about these American summer outdoor traditions check out our blog!). Going to the beach, having picnics, watching parades and going to fairs or watching fireworks is also very common on this day and preceding weekend.
In Boston especially there are a number of public events ongoing in celebration of this holiday and the end of summer. The Boston Arts Festival takes place the weekend before Labor Day bringing visual and live entertainment together for an end-of-summer party that shows off Boston’s diverse and creative arts scene. The annual Labor Day weekend fireworks at the Boston Harbor take off the Saturday before Labor Day. In the North End a number of other feasts and festivals also take place on this weekend. Check out more celebratory events going on this year in Boston here!
So do you celebrate Labor Day? What is your favorite end of summer event? Do you know of any Boston events we missed? We want to know!