What is Labour Day? September is finally here and with that comes a holiday observed around the world: Labour Day. While many countries (such as Canada and the United States) receive a day off of work and a long weekend for Labour Day, in many countries it is just another day at work. In Australia, it is observed in March, and in the UK (and many other countries) celebrate on May 1.

But what is Labour Day, and why do we mark it on the calendar? Online surveys show that many people around the world are not aware of the reasons we observe Labour Day. Check out our overview of Labour Day.

What is Labour Day?

Labour Day is a public holiday that is observed on the first Monday every September. It is meant to honour the American and Canadian labour movements, and draws attention to the contributions made by workers to the strength of the country. It is a federal holiday in both America and Canada.

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Trade unions around the country proposed that a specific day be set aside to celebrate workers’ rights and labour in general. In 1887, Oregon was the first state in the USA to officially mark this as an official holiday.

Today, more than 80 other countries celebrate International Workers’ Day every 1st May. This is the European pagan holiday of May Day, but now has many multi layered meanings.

The end of summer – and start of classes

In the United States and Canada, Labour Day often signifies the unofficial ‘end of summer.’ Even though autumn doesn’t begin on the calendar until weeks later, many North Americans view Labour Day as the last hurrah of the summer, prompting many people to hold BBQs or go on camping trips.

Most school districts around the continent hold their first day of classes on the Tuesday following Labour Day, and so the excitement of a new school year is on everyone’s minds.

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When is Labour Day in 2017 and 2018?

In 2017, Labour Day will be celebrated in the United States and Canada on Monday, September 4th, and in 2018 it will be observed on September 5th. In 2018, Australia will observe Labour Day on Monday, March 12. The Adelaide Cup is timed to be held on the same day every year!

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