Our Peoria Chiropractic Clinic knows that for a lot of people Labor Day means two things—a day off and the end of summer. So what is the history behind Labor Day? Labor Day is a yearly federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September. It is a day to acknowledge and celebrate the economic and social contributions of working men and women. The workers’ unions chose the first Monday in September because it was halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving.
Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 to placate unionists following the Pullman Strike. Following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve rush legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday; President Grover Cleveland signed it into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.
The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and spirit de corps of the trade and labor organizations”, followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the civil significance of the holiday.
Labor Day has come to be celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. In U.S. sports, Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons. NCAA teams usually play their first games the weekend of Labor Day, with the NFL traditionally playing their first game the Thursday following Labor Day. The Southern 500 NASCAR auto race was held that day from 1950 to 1983 in Darlington, South Carolina. At Indianapolis Raceway Park, the National Hot Rod Association hold their finals to the U.S. Nationals drag race.
In the U.S., most school districts that started summer vacation 1-2 weeks into June will resume school the day after this day, while schools that had summer vacation begin on the Saturday before Memorial Day in late May will have already been in session since late August. However this tradition is changing as many school districts end 1-2 weeks into June and begin mid-August.