You probably associate Labor Day with sales, family barbecues, and the informal end of summer. For most Americans, a long weekend is a much-needed opportunity to reconnect with friends and family.
Monday's holiday has a very deep meaning, rooted in the fight for fair working conditions in the 19th century. Labor Day was originally created to honor workers as part of American organized labor.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Day was first celebrated informally by labor workers and individual states in the late 1800s. New York was the first state to introduce the bill
Joshua Freeman, a labor historian and professor emeritus at the City University of New York, tells CNN that the holidays that developed as unions were beginning to strengthen again after the recession of the 1870s.
At the time Labor Day was formed, unions were fighting for "very specific improvements in their working conditions," Freeman said. The workers were working hard for the eight-hour working day.
Labour Day was an opportunity for them to come together to discuss their priorities – and for the country to acknowledge the contributions made by workers to society.
Over time, the radical politics surrounding Labour Day intensified. Around the world, most countries honor workers with a holiday called May Day,
Celebrated on May 1, which originated in the late 19th century and was an eight-hour working day battle. For a long time, Freeman says, Americans celebrated both May Day and Labor Day.
But eventually, Labor Day came to be seen as the more "moderate" of the two holidays than May Day, which was originally established by the Marxist International Socialist Congress.
But don't worry: there's no fashion cop out there waiting to see if you wear a white shirt in September. And the idea is actually a very problematic origin.
According to Fashion historian and director of The Museum at the Fashion, Valerie Steele, this rule was one of many style customs of the 19th century, used to distinguish the upper and middle classes.