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Labor Day 2012: Celebrating our Nation's Workers

Many people see Labor Day as marking the official end of the summer season

Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September, and was organized to acknowledge the contribution of workers to the United States economy.

This year, Labor Day will be celebrated on September 3, 2012.

The holiday was first proposed in 1882 by Matthew Maguire who was secretary of the CLU (Central Labor Union) of New York. It became a federal holiday in 1894, and today is considered a part of the "big six" federal holidays.

Many people see Labor Day as marking the official end of the summer season, the beginning of the academic school year for students and the start of the football season. But largely it is seen as a well-deserved day off of work for employees.

One of the reasons for choosing to celebrate this on the first Monday in September was to add a holiday in the long gap between Independence Day and Thanksgiving.

In most towns and cities, the holiday traditionally is celebrated by a street parade to exhibit "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations," followed by a festival for the workers and their families.

In New York City, there are two large Labor Day Parades:

  • The official AFL-CIO Parade in New York will take form at 44th St. between 5th Ave. & Vanderbilt Ave, at 10:00 a.m. and move north up 5th Avenue. The reviewing stand will be at  5th Ave. & 64th St. Participants come from all around the tri-state area and last year, there were 50,000 members who marched. This year promises to be even more exciting, with family-friendly events planned during and after the parade. To check parade guidelines, click here.  or this year's line-of-march, click here.
  • The West Indian-American Day Parade will take place in Brooklyn at 11:00 a.m., forming at Utica Avenue and Eastern Parkway to Grand Army Plaza, moving westward along Eastern Pkwy. Catch all the color and excitement as millions of Brooklynites & New Yorkers line up along Eastern Parkway. This year, the West Indian American Day Parade and Carnival celebrates its 44th anniversary as it continues to enjoy the distinction of being New York City's biggest cultural festivals by far.

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