Labour Day
Labour Day or Labor Day is an annual
A year is the orbital period of the Earth moving around the Sun. For an observer on Earth, this corresponds to the period it takes the Sun to complete one course throughout the zodiac along the ecliptic....

Public holiday
A public holiday, national holiday or legal holiday is a holiday generally established by law and is usually a non-working day during the year....

 to celebrate the economic and social
The term social refers to a characteristic of living organisms...

 achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 movement, specifically the eight-hour day
Eight-hour day
The eight-hour day movement or 40-hour week movement, also known as the short-time movement, had its origins in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, where industrial production in large factories transformed working life and imposed long hours and poor working conditions. With working conditions...

 movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.


Celebrating the Australian labour movement
Australian labour movement
The Australian labour movement has its origins in the early 19th century and includes both trade unions and political activity. At its broadest, the movement can be defined as encompassing the industrial wing, the unions in Australia, and the political wing, the Australian Labor Party and minor...

, the Labour Day public holiday is fixed by the various state and territory
States and territories of Australia
The Commonwealth of Australia is a union of six states and various territories. The Australian mainland is made up of five states and three territories, with the sixth state of Tasmania being made up of islands. In addition there are six island territories, known as external territories, and a...

 governments, and so varies considerably. It is the first Monday in October in the Australian Capital Territory
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory, often abbreviated ACT, is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and is the smallest self-governing internal territory...

, New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 and South Australia
South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

. In both Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

 and Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

, it is the second Monday in March (though the latter calls it Eight Hours Day). In Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

, Labour Day is the first Monday in March. In both Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

 and the Northern Territory
Northern Territory
The Northern Territory is a federal territory of Australia, occupying much of the centre of the mainland continent, as well as the central northern regions...

, it is the first Monday in May.


Labour Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in Canada since the 1880s. The origins of Labour Day in Canada can be traced back to December 1872 when a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union's strike for a 58-hour work-week. The Toronto Trades Assembly (TTA) called its 27 unions to demonstrate in support of the Typographical Union who had been on strike since March 25. George Brown
George Brown (Canadian politician)
George Brown was a Scottish-born Canadian journalist, politician and one of the Fathers of Confederation...

, Canadian politician and editor of the Toronto Globe hit back at his striking employees, pressing police to charge the Typographical Union with "conspiracy." Although the laws criminalising union activity were outdated and had already been abolished in Great Britain, they were still on the books in Canada and police arrested 24 leaders of the Typographical Union. Labour leaders decided to call another similar demonstration on September 3 to protest the arrests. Seven unions marched in Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

, prompting a promise by Canadian Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 Sir John A. Macdonald
John A. Macdonald
Sir John Alexander Macdonald, GCB, KCMG, PC, PC , QC was the first Prime Minister of Canada. The dominant figure of Canadian Confederation, his political career spanned almost half a century...

 to repeal the "barbarous" anti-union laws. Parliament passed the Trade Union Act
Trade Union Act
Trade Union Act is a stock short title used for legislation in the United Kingdom and Australia which relates to trade unions....

 on June 14 the following year, and soon all unions were demanding a 54-hour work-week.

The Toronto Trades and Labour Council (successor to the TTA) held similar celebrations every spring. American Peter J. McGuire
Peter J. McGuire
Peter J. McGuire was an American labor leader of the nineteenth century, the founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and one of the leading figures in the first three decades of the American Federation of Labor...

, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor
American Federation of Labor
The American Federation of Labor was one of the first federations of labor unions in the United States. It was founded in 1886 by an alliance of craft unions disaffected from the Knights of Labor, a national labor association. Samuel Gompers was elected president of the Federation at its...

, was asked to speak at a labour festival in Toronto, Canada on July 22, 1882. Returning to the United States, McGuire and the Knights of Labor
Knights of Labor
The Knights of Labor was the largest and one of the most important American labor organizations of the 1880s. Its most important leader was Terence Powderly...

 organised a similar parade
A parade is a procession of people, usually organized along a street, often in costume, and often accompanied by marching bands, floats or sometimes large balloons. Parades are held for a wide range of reasons, but are usually celebrations of some kind...

 based on the Canadian event on September 5, 1882 in New York City, USA. On July 23, 1894, Canadian Prime Minister John Thompson and his government made Labour Day, to be held in September, an official holiday. In the United States, the New York parade became an annual event that year, and in 1894 was adopted by American president Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents...

 to compete with International Workers' Day
International Workers' Day
International Workers' Day is a celebration of the international labour movement and left-wing movements. It commonly sees organized street demonstrations and marches by working people and their labour unions throughout most of the world. May 1 is a national holiday in more than 80 countries...

 (May Day).

While Labour Day parades and picnics are organised by unions, many Canadians regard Labour Day as the Monday of the last long weekend of summer. Non-union celebrations include picnics, fireworks displays, water activities, and public art events. Since the new school year generally starts right after Labour Day, families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer.

An old fashion related idea in Canada and the United States scorns at the wearing of white after Labour Day. The explanations for this tradition varies. The fact that white is a summer colour and Labour Day unofficially marks the end of summer, while also offering less protection against the start of the cooler temperatures is one potential explanation. The rule may have been intended as a status symbol for new members of the upper and middle classes, in the late 19th and early 20th century.

A Labour Day tradition in Atlantic Canada would be the Wharf Rat Rally in Digby, Nova Scotia
Digby, Nova Scotia
Digby is a Canadian town in western Nova Scotia. It is the shiretown and largest population centre in Digby County.The town is situated on the western shore of the Annapolis Basin near the entrance to the Digby Gut which connects the basin to the Bay of Fundy.Named after Admiral Robert Digby, RN,...

, while the rest of Canada is watching Labour Day Classic
Labour Day Classic
The Labour Day Classic is a particular week of the Canadian Football League schedule that is played over the Labour Day weekend. This particular weekend, typically the tenth or eleventh week in the season, is known for its matchups that do not change from year to year, unlike other weeks of the...

, Canadian Football League
Canadian Football League
The Canadian Football League or CFL is a professional sports league located in Canada. The CFL is the highest level of competition in Canadian football, a form of gridiron football closely related to American football....

 event where rivals like Calgary Stampeders
Calgary Stampeders
The Calgary Stampeders are a Canadian Football League team based in Calgary, Alberta and named in reference to the Calgary Stampede. The Stampeders play their home games at McMahon Stadium...

 and Edmonton Eskimos
Edmonton Eskimos
The Edmonton Eskimos are a Canadian football team based in Edmonton, Alberta. They currently play in the West Division of the Canadian Football League . Edmonton is currently the third-youngest franchise in the CFL, although there were clubs with the name Edmonton Eskimos as early as 1895...

, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are a Canadian Football League team based in Hamilton, Ontario, founded in 1950 with the merger of the Hamilton Tigers and the Hamilton Wildcats. The Tiger-Cats play their home games at Ivor Wynne Stadium...

 and Toronto Argonauts
Toronto Argonauts
The Toronto Argonauts are a professional Canadian football team competing in the East Division of the Canadian Football League. The Toronto, Ontario based team was founded in 1873 and is one of the oldest existing professional sports teams in North America, after the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta...

 (except in 2011
2011 CFL season
The 2011 CFL season was the 58th season of modern Canadian professional football. Officially, it was the 54th season of the league. The complete schedule was released on February 18 and featured the defending Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes opening the season against the visiting BC Lions on...

, due to a scheduling conflict), and Saskatchewan Roughriders
Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Saskatchewan Roughriders are a Canadian Football League team based in Regina, Saskatchewan. They were founded in 1910. They play their home games at 2940 10th Avenue in Regina, which has been the team's home base for its entire history, even prior to the construction of Mosaic Stadium at Taylor...

 and Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are a Canadian football team based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They are currently members of the East Division of the Canadian Football League . They play their home games at Canad Inns Stadium, and plan to move to a new stadium for the 2012 season.The Blue Bombers were founded...

 play on Labour Day weekend. Before the demise of the Ottawa Renegades
Ottawa Renegades
Ottawa Renegades was the most recent name of a Canadian Football League team based in Ottawa, Ontario founded in 2002, seven years after the storied Ottawa Rough Riders folded...

 after the 2005 season, that team played the nearby Montreal Alouettes
Montreal Alouettes
The Montreal Alouettes are a Canadian Football League team based in Montreal, Quebec.The current franchise named the Alouettes moved to Montreal from Baltimore, Maryland, in 1996 where they had been known as the Baltimore Stallions...

 on Labour Day weekend. Since then, the Alouettes have played the remaining team in the league, the BC Lions
BC Lions
The BC Lions are a professional Canadian football team competing in the West Division of Canadian Football League . Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Lions play their home games at BC Place Stadium in Downtown Vancouver, having previously played at Empire Stadium in East Vancouver from 1954...


Labour Day parade in Grand Falls-Windsor Newfoundland started in 1996 and still continues today, over 100 years later. The celebrations go on for three days with the parade on Labour Day Monday.


Before 1961, May 24 was celebrated in Jamaica as Empire Day in honour of the birthday of Queen Victoria and her emancipation of slaves in Jamaica. As its name suggests, the day was used to celebrate the British Empire, complete with flag-raising ceremonies and the singing of patriotic songs. In 1961, Jamaican Chief Minister Norman Washington Manley proposed the replacement of Empire Day with Labour Day, a celebration in commemoration of May 23, 1938, when Alexander Bustamante
Alexander Bustamante
Sir William Alexander Clarke Bustamante GBE, National Hero of Jamaica was a Jamaican politician and labour leader....

 led a labour rebellion
British West Indian labour unrest of 1934–1939
TheBritish West Indian labour unrest of 1934–1939 encompassed a series of disturbances, strikes and riots in the United Kingdom's Caribbean colonies. These began as the Great Depression wore on and ceased on the eve of World War II...

 leading to Jamaican independence.

Until May 23, 1971, Labour Day was primarily a trade unions celebration with public rallies and marches. On occasion, opposing trade unions clashed on this day, so in 1972, Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley
Michael Manley
Michael Norman Manley ON OCC was the fourth Prime Minister of Jamaica . Manley was a democratic socialist....

 promoted Labour Day as a showcase for the importance of labour to the development of Jamaica, and a day of voluntary community participation to beneficial projects. Since then, Labour Day has been not only a public holiday but also a day of mass community involvement around the country.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, Labour Day is a public holiday held on the fourth Monday in October. Its origins are traced back to the eight-hour working day movement that arose in the newly founded Wellington
Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand, although it is likely to have surpassed Christchurch due to the exodus following the Canterbury Earthquake. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range...

 colony in 1840, primarily because of carpenter Samuel Parnell's refusal to work more than eight hours a day. He encouraged other tradesmen also to work for only eight hours a day and in October 1840, a workers' meeting passed a resolution supporting the idea. On October 28, 1890, the 50th anniversary of the eight-hour day was commemorated with a parade. The event was then celebrated annually in late October as either Labour Day or Eight-Hour Demonstration Day. In 1899 government legislated that the day be a public holiday from 1900. The day was celebrated on different days in different provinces. This led to ship owners complaining that seamen were taking excessive holidays by having one Labour Day in one port then another in their next port. In 1910 the government stipulated that the holiday would be observed on the same day throughout the nation.

Trinidad and Tobago

In Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles...

, Labour Day is celebrated every June 19. This holiday was proposed in 1973 to be commemorated on the anniversary of the 1937 Butler
Tubal Uriah Butler
Tubal Uriah "Buzz" Butler , was a Grenadian-born Spiritual Baptist preacher and labour leader in Trinidad and Tobago...

 labour riots.


In Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Labour Day is celebrated on the first day of May, coinciding with May Day. Labour Day is an official national holiday in Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....


United States

In the United States, Labor Day is a federal holiday
Federal holiday
In the United States, a federal holiday is a public holiday recognized by the United States federal government. Non-essential federal government offices are closed...

observed on the first Monday of September. It is customarily viewed as the end of the summer vacation season. Many schools open for the year in the week after Labor Day.


As a socialist country, Labour day in cuba is celebrated on the first day of May.In all provinces of the country it is celebrated , large rallies and public gathering is arranged by government. The largest rally is celebrated in Havana in Plaza de La Revolucion,and traditionally Cuban president speech the gathering. A general holiday is celebrated.It is considered one of the world largest gathering.

External links

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