Labor Day is celebrated in the United States and Canada on the first Monday in September. Origins of the holiday are traced back to 1872 when a parade was held in support of a strike by Toronto’s Typographical Union.
In 1882, American union official Peter McGuire was asked to speak at a Canadian festival commemorating the strike. Upon his returned to New York, he proposed to American labor leaders an event similar to Canada’s Labor Festival. By the time the United States Congress passed a bill making it a national holiday in 1894, the day was already being observed in 30 states. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, another man, Matthew Maguire, secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York, is also lauded for his involvement as a champion of the Labor Day movement.
For us, the outcome is a day of rest, parties, and reflection on the contributions and sacrifices made by our working men and women. It also happens to be the topic for some of the most well-known contemporary songs.
Click through to listen and purchase mp3 versions of our Top Picks for your Labor Day playlist.