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Last Updated: September 27, 2014  3,100 views

What is Labour Day and why do we celebrate it?

in: International Affairs

labour_day.jpgToday the whole world is celebrating Labour day. My office is also closed on the eve of Labour day. It is an annual holiday celebrated all over the world that resulted from the labour union movement in United States, to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. The majority of countries celebrate Labour Day on May 1, so it is also known as May Day and International Workers’ Day. However, many people do not know much about the importance of Labour day. So today we will discuss what exactly is Labour day why we celebrate it?

This holiday first originated in 1882 as a result of the labour movement and was intended to be a day of rest for all the workers and also to recognize their efforts. Historians give credit of Labour day to Peter J. McGuire, he was the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co founder of the American Federation of Labour. He was the man who first advocated holiday for US Workers. However some historians give this credit to Matthew Maguire. He was secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

Labour.jpgThe first Labour day parade occurred on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City as it was halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. The idea spread across the United States, and some states designated Labour Day as a holiday. Then US President Grover Cleveland signed a law designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day nationwide. However, Cleveland was not a labor union supporter but through this declaration he was trying to repair some political damage that he suffered earlier that year when he sent federal troops to put down a strike by the American Railway Union at the Pullman Co. in Chicago, IL. That action resulted into the deaths of 34 workers. In European countries, China, India and other parts of the world, May Day, the first day in May, is a holiday to celebrate workers and labour unions.