Labor Day, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

Life in the USA is a complete guide to American life for immigrants and Americans. All materials on this site Copyright © Elliot Essman 2014. All rights reserved.    Home    Back    Next

Life in the USA
American Community
Holidays

Labor Day
Officially speaking, Labor Day (the first Monday in September) celebrates America's workers. Labor Day has a long tradition, going back to the nineteenth century. It is an official national holiday, and an official holiday in all 50 states.

Labor Day originated during an era of extreme and often violent labor strife in the United States. The national issues that brought Labor Day into existence are no longer as prominent as they once were. While labor unions and organizations continue to organize events for Labor Day, and politicians do make speeches, the day also functions as the unofficial end of the summer season, marked by the three-day Labor Day weekend, just as Memorial Day heralds the beginning of summer.

As summer progresses into August in the United States and many people take vacations, life tends to slow down. Television networks show re-runs, and children (and their teachers) treasure the final days of their summer vacations. It may sometimes be difficult to conduct business during this period. The phrase “after Labor Day” takes on iconic significance as an important transition point. For many years, as an example, an unwritten fashion rule was “Don't wear white after Labor Day.” If an American tells you “We'll discuss it after Labor Day,” your best course is to wait until the summer season ends.


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