BlogAugust 2023

What is the Meaning of Labor Day

What is the Meaning of Labor Day

By Jeff Bogle

Aug 22, 2023

Labor Day 2023 is the last weekend before school starts. It’s the perfect time for one last camping and fishing trip. But what is Labor Day for?

You probably know it as summer's swan song, that three-day weekend to go camping, take that fishing trip you've been putting off, or simply watch football on your sofa. For many kids, however, Labor Day 2023 will be the last weekend be-fore school starts, one last cannonball into the pool, one last time out on the water for fishing fun or a boating adventure, one last chance to soak up the best of summer. But what is Labor Day for?

What is the Meaning of Labor Day?

Labor Day is viewed as the end of summer and the start of back-to-school days. Additionally, Labor Day is celebrated with parades, picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, and other public gatherings. Labor Day is a three-day weekend that marks the end of summer, demonstrates the contributions of the working class towards America's economic prosperity, and even though it will run until the solstice later in September, Labor Day weekend provides one final opportunity for summer fun.

When is Labor Day 2023?

Labor Day is always celebrated on the first Monday in September. That means this year, the Labor Day holiday that cele-brates American workers lands on Monday, September 4th this year. While it was designated a national federal holiday to honor the hard work that has helped our country do well and prosper over the years, most people do anything but work over Labor Day weekend!

Who Celebrates Labor Day?

As the federal holiday to honor the American labor movement, Labor Day is celebrated by almost everyone in America, whether they are currently working, retired, or still a child who has never punched a time card. Labor Day 2023 will give many people a three-day weekend from September 2nd through Labor Day on September 4th.

History of Labor Day and What is the Meaning of Labor Day?

No one is quite sure who first came up with the idea of a Labor Day holiday in the United States, but considering 12-hour work days were the norm in the 19th century, it’s a welcome relief and worthy recognition of the workers who built this nation. Some people say it was Peter J. McGuire, a cabinet maker, who proposed the day in May of 1882 while others credit Matthew Maguire from the Central Labor Union. The first Labor Day was held by the labor unions in New York City on September 5, 1882, in New York City, before it was a federal holiday. It was then adopted by other states, starting with Oregon 5 years later. It was until the summer of 1894, in reaction to a strike that turned violent in Chicago that people across the country could say, "Happy Labor Day" each year.

Fun Facts About Labor Day

Labor Day weekend is the third most popular holiday in the United States for grilling, camping, boating, and outdoor rec-reation behind the 4th of July and the recognized start of summer, Memorial Day. Labor Day 2023 is as important as any other of the previous iterations because today, over 150 million Americans work, and over 5% of those are teachers who use Labor Day weekend to put the finishing touches on their plans for the new school year.

While not as prevalent as on other holidays, such as New Year's Day, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving, in some communities, Labor Day is celebrated with parades. Those are joyous and fun occasions today, but the very first Labor Day parade was to protest poor working conditions and long work days. Few people have to work 12 or 16-hour shifts these days, thankfully, but there is still a Labor Day parade in New York City near the site of the 1882 labor march that helped bring us Labor Day as a federal holiday.

Finally, Labor Day is viewed as the end of summer and the start of back-to-school days, but according to a survey by Market Data Retrieval, a whopping 75 percent of American students will have already returned to school before Labor Day 2023!


Whether you take this Labor Day weekend to book a last-minute boating trip, or to go fishing, camping, road-tripping, or visiting a National Park, happy labor day to you and your family! If Labor Day also makes you think of holiday shopping, check out this gift guide for outdoor lovers!

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle
Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion