Labor Day began as a way to celebrate the American working class and their contributions to society.
On Tuesday, September 5, 1882, the first Labor Day parade was held in New York City. It was followed by picnics all around the city and fireworks at night. In 1884, the holiday was again observed, this time on the first Monday in September. That is when it is still celebrated today.
By 1885, the idea had begun to spread through labor unions. It was celebrated in many industrial centers throughout the country. Soon, all states started celebrating Labor Day. In 1894, Congress voted to establish Labor Day as a federal holiday.
There is some discrepancy surrounding who the actual founder of Labor Day is. Many sources give credit to Peter McGuire, a carpenter and co-founder of the American Federation of Labor. Other sources say it was Matthew Macguire, a machinist and secretary for the Central Labor Union in New York.
Regardless of who its founder was, American workers still enjoy celebrating Labor Day each September. Most Americans consider it the unofficial end of summer, and the holiday finds beaches and other popular resort areas packed with people enjoying one last three-day weekend.