Episode 9 (formerly 1509): Labor Day

Transcript:

Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States. Labor Day is a national holiday celebrating the dedication and accomplishments of the workers in America. Many other countries around the world designate a similar day for workers, usually on May 1.

However, Americans celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday in September every year. Because it’s a federal holiday, public schools, government offices, banks and other companies are closed, and workers get paid for the day, even though they don’t go to work. People who don’t work on Saturday and Sunday have a three-day weekend on Labor Day weekend.

In addition to honoring the worker, Labor Day is thought of as an end-of-summer celebration. Summer weather is beginning to become autumn-like and students are returning to school.

People celebrate Labor Day much like they celebrate the Fourth of July. Families gather for cookouts and picnics. Pool parties and backyard barbecues are popular, as are live band concerts, plays, camping trips and parades. And almost every city and town has a fireworks display at some point over the weekend.

In addition, many retail stores have Labor Day sales, with discounts on every kind of product imaginable, from school supplies to automobiles.

Labor unions and the labor movement created Labor Day in the USA back in the 1800s. At first it was an unofficial celebration. A parade was held by labor unions in New York City on September 5, 1882, with a big party for workers in a park afterward. At this time, the labor movement was very strong and workers were in the process of asking for rights such as shorter workdays and more benefits.

In following years, festivities honoring workers were held in many places in September, and Labor Day eventually became a holiday in several states.

New York was the first state to propose a law implementing Labor Day as a paid holiday. In 1885, Oregon was the first state to authorize the official holiday, but New York and two other states were close behind. Their laws were passed in 1886 and 1887.

Finally, the United States Congress passed a law making Labor Day a legal holiday in June of 1894.

Today, Labor Day is more about fun and parties than serious topics like workers’ rights. Americans just like to have fun and relax on this last weekend of the summer.

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One thought on “Episode 9 (formerly 1509): Labor Day

  1. Pingback: US Federal Holidays – Slow American English

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