The Reason We Celebrate Labor Day

by Chelsey Grasso
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Melinda Podor/Moment/Getty Images

Chances are you'll be taking this coming Monday off, but do you even really know why? If the words "Why is Labor Day a holiday?" have ever crossed your lips, then you've stumbled upon the right article, my friends. I'm here to lay it to you straight, as well as provide all the essential facts and backstory information you could ever desire on the holiday. (Don't worry, it's actually pretty simple.)

Most of us can glean from the name of the holiday that Labor Day celebrates labor, but have you ever wondered who came up with it and in what year America first started celebrating it (both officially and unofficially)? Knowing why you get a day off from work is important, and nobody likes an ignorant American, so it's time to get educated.

From the first states to actually pass a bill acknowledging the holiday to figuring out who actually came up with the idea for Labor Day in the first place, get your facts straight below. Nobody ever said you had to be a history expert, but a little bit of knowledge can go a long way in this country. Fill up below, and then pass it on — the more we know, the more we appreciate.

Why is Labor Day a holiday?

Labor Day came about as a creation of the labor movement in an attempt to celebrate the many achievements made because of American workers. Though originally introduced as a state bill in New York, Oregon was the first to pass the law in 1887. Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Jersey quickly followed suit, and by June 28, 1894, Congress passed a bill making Labor Day a legal, nationwide holiday in the United States.

When was Labor Day first celebrated?

Labor Day was first unofficially celebrated in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882. The workers' unions decided that Labor Day should fall on the first Monday in September for a reason that was quite practical — it fell halfway between July 4 and Thanksgiving. After the first Labor Day celebration, news spread, and various states began designating the holiday before it was officially established on a federal level.

Who was the founder behind Labor Day?

Things get a little blurry when it comes to figuring out who actually came up with the idea for a day that celebrated workers. The debate currently remains between two men, Peter J. McGuire (cofounder of the American Federation of Labor), and Matthew Maguire (secretary of the Central Labor Union). McGuire is quoted as having said there should be a day for the workers "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold." Maguire, on the other hand, has been credited with proposing the holiday in the Central Labor Union in New York during his time there as a secretary. Neither man has been established as the proven "father of Labor Day," so to speak, and for that reason they are both still regarded as key figures in helping to make the holiday something we still observe today. Two is better than one, right?

Image: Melinda Podor/Moment/Getty Images; Giphy (2)