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Ask Fox: Why is "Labor Day" a holiday? What is it anyway?

It's Labor Day and you have the day off. Congratulations.

I don't, so I'm writing about a question we get on this day: what is Labor Day anyway?

Short answer: "It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country," says the Department of Labor.

Long answer: American workers used to work longer hours in worse conditions. It was bad.

So some states starting recognizing those who labored, starting with Oregon, who passed the first recognition in 1887.

States started to follow and eventually in 1894, Congress passed a measure making the first Monday in September a legal holiday.

The first ever Labor Day was Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882. They started by putting on parades and festivals.

"The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television," the DOL website said.

So congratulations, laboring worker. Today is for you.

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