Labor Day is one of the least recognized, forgotten holidays of the year, but one that we seem to appreciate only after realizing it gives us a three-day weekend in September. Here are seven tidbits you probably never knew about the holiday.
1. The First Labor Day was Celebrated in New York on September 5, 1882
On the first Labor Day (a Tuesday), 10,000 citizens marched for labor rights down the streets of Manhattan. During this time, the average American worked 12 hours a day, six days a week. It wasn’t until the Adamson Act passed on September 3, 1916, that the modern eight-hour work day was established.
2. Labor Day is Often Confused with May Day
Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers’ Day or May Day. Celebrated on May 1 by many countries around the globe, it is an international day honoring workers.
3. Why Can’t We Wear White After Labor Day?
There are three hypotheses about the origins of the “No White after Labor Day” directive. The first theory, disagreed upon by many, is based on class distinction in the early 1900’s. Although white clothing was clearly an upper class luxury, after the Civil War it became harder to distinguish women coming from old money or new money. The higher class ladies then made inane fashion rules to weed out those who were “out of place.”
The second theory speaks to a more practical approach by pointing out that Memorial Day and Labor Day bracketed the summer season, and therefore lighter, summery, white clothes were no longer needed.
The last theory has to do with popular fashion magazines, who may have begun promoting fall clothing after Labor Day, and the trend was picked up. Whatever the reason may be, it’s safe to say the fashion rule is kaput.
4. Labor Day Ironically Creates Some of the Longest Working Hours
Labor Day weekend is notorious for having crazy sales. But unfortunately, this means retail workers (up 6% of the country’s employment system) have to work longer hours on a day specially dedicated to labor appreciation. In fact, many other professionals also work on Labor Day, including correctional officers, police officials, firefighters, nurses, and more.
5. Labor Day is the Official End of Hot Dog Season
No. Seriously. According to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day make up the “hot dog season.” Hot dog producers estimate that an average of 38 percent or $614 million of the total number of hot dogs are sold during this time. Ten percent of annual retail hot dog sales occur during July, which is designated as National Hot Dog Month.