Did you wake up this morning and go “Holy pool noodles! It’s almost September!”
I did. I can’t believe that summer is almost over and Labor Day is only a few days away. There was so much I was supposed to do this summer - like visit a water park, go kayaking, plant more flowers. There is a silver lining though, after 11 years of building, we finally finished our back porch and made our lawn greener than it’s ever been -- meaning it no longer looks like the Adams Family lives in our house.
And all is not all lost. They will still be warm days to soak up the sun and build up our defenses against the frozen dreadfulness that is a Pittsburgh winter.
To help kick off the Labor Day weekend, here are 10 cool historical facts about Labor Day, starting with how we should all thank Canada:
1. Labor Day originated in Canada. While most of us think of Labor Day as a uniquely American holiday, it actually began in Toronto and stemmed from labor disputes in the 1870s. A parade was held to support a strike against a 58-hour workweek. As a result, 24 union leaders who organized the event were arrested under anti-union laws.
2. The date of the first labor strike is still being debated. Many believe it occurred in 1872 when 100,000 workers took to the streets in on of the largest worker strikes in the nation. Others say it was 1886 when during the Haymarket Riots in Chicago. Still others argue that the first labor strike in America was in 1836 when a group of Maine fisherman refused to work after the owner of their boats failed to pay them.
3. One of the most well-know Labor Day observances in the United States was a parade. On September 5, 1882, ten thousand workers paraded through New York City under the sponsorship of the Central Labor Union. So what pissed off those 10,000 workers enough to make them march through the city? A 12 hour work day, that’s what! The first Labor Day rally was held to help them gain support for an 8 hour workday.
4. The Labor Movement called for a 8-hour workday in 1836. Although non-unionized Boston ship carpenters won an 8-hour day in 1842, the 8-hour day was not firmly established until 1916 with the passage of the Adamson Act, the first federal law regulating hours of workers in private companies.
5. Oregon was first to declare Labor Day an official holiday. In February 1887, Oregon passed the first laws officially recognizing Labor Day as a holiday.
6. Labor Day was declared a National Holiday under Grover Cleveland. Making Labor Day an official national holiday as part of his political campaign. In 1894, President Cleveland made good on his promise and signed a law making Labor Day an official U.S. holiday.
7. Labor Day is recognized worldwide. Although Labor Day originated in Canada and is celebrated in the United States, a number of other industrialized nations celebrate as well. While not all celebrate it at the end of summer like we Americans do, the concept is similar: it is a time to respect and reflect on workers.
8. The first Waffle House opened on Labor Day. In 1955 in Avondale Estates, GA, waffle lovers rejoiced as the very first Waffle House opened its doors. Today, the restaurant chain counts has over 2,100 locations in 25 states. Yum!
9. Fashion faux pas. In the “olden days” Labor Day was the time when women packed away their white shoes, white skirts and white pants. Today, wearing white is more of a year round staple and something women can do without getting a beat down by the fashion police.
10. Labor Day is the unofficial NFL season kickoff. 99 percent of the time, the NFL plays its first official season game on the Thursday after Labor Day.
Happy Labor Day! Enjoy your weekend and have a fun and safe celebration with your family and friends.