Posts Tagged ‘Labor Day parade’

New York invented the first Labor Day parade

August 31, 2020

History isn’t sure who actually came up with the idea of a holiday honoring workers. What is known is that the first Labor Day was launched by the Central Labor Union in New York City, with a parade and festivities taking place in Union Square on September 5, 1882.


The holiday was popular. “The following year the union shifted the holiday to the first Monday of the month,” states the Smithsonian/National Museum of American History.

“This tradition generally spread as state governments began to officially put the holiday on their calendars. Finally in 1894, the federal government made Labor Day a national holiday for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”

This image of the parade five years later also shows marchers in Union Square. And what about the 2020 Labor Day Parade? I tried to look it up but found nothing. Perhaps it’s being held virtually this year due to the pandemic.

[First image: Wikipedia; second image: MCNY]

The first-ever Labor Day parade

August 27, 2008

It happened in September 1882 (on a Tuesday, actually); thousands of workers marched from Fifth Avenue to Union Square, where picnics, fireworks, and rallies were held, all in support of an 8-hour workday. 

Beginning in 1894, the first Monday of September was designated¬†“National Labor Day,” a date set by President Grover Cleveland. ¬†

Labor Day weekend didn’t always mean last chance for a summer beach vacation; an annual parade occurred in the city every year for decades, and thousands of New Yorkers marched or came out in support. The parade was cancelled several times in the 1980s, then called off again in 2002 in honor of the victims of September 11.

Last year’s parade was KO’d as well, its popularity eclipsed in part by the massive West Indian Day parade in Brooklyn held the same weekend.