Labor Day was first proposed in 1882 and celebrated with a demonstration and picnic on Tuesday, September 5. In 1884, the Knights of Labor held a large New York parade on the first Monday in September to celebrate a "workingmen's holiday." The group then passed a resolution to hold all future parades on the same day, calling the event Labor Day. Within a few years, other labor organizations began to lobby state legislatures for recognition of Labor Day as an official state holiday. In 1894, Congress passed a law recognizing Labor Day as an official national holiday.

Today, Labor Day has come to be recognized in the U.S. as the unofficial end of the summer season.