In the 1800s, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to get by. People of all ages faced extremely unsafe working conditions, and basic necessities like fresh air, sanitary facilities, and breaks were scarce. In protest, on Sept. 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, which is now remembered as the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history. The idea of a "workingmen’s holiday," observed on the first Monday in September, caught on in other cities across the country and began a nationwide revolution.
Today, we commemorate this holiday with flaming barbecues, pool parties, and loads of well-deserved rest. But saying goodbye to summer and thank you to the champions of the weekend deserves more than an average party. There are tons of ways to celebrate the day in a way that will have the adults relaxed and the kids entertained.
Nothing screams summer quite like searing seafood, so treat the family to a clambake party. Though fashion rules have considerably relaxed, reminisce about the days where you couldn’t wear white after Labor Day and host an all-white Labor Day bash. Or, honor the working man by throwing a blue-jean party or a "trade" party representing the blue-collar workers.
However you decide to celebrate, remember to give thanks to those who worked extra hard on this day in history so you wouldn’t have to.
You don’t have to live in New England to host a delicious seafood bake. Gather friends by the
fire pit and whip out your old tin serving buckets to give your food presentation a rustic feel. Try serving a variety of shellfish, like crab and lobster. Don’t forget the folks who may be allergic to shellfish and treat them to something like a fresh, healthy salmon.
While it is no longer a fashion faux-pas to wear white after Labor Day, it is still fun to send summer off dressed all in white. Insist that attendees arrive clad in only white and make sure your tablescape is pure as well. White sides as well as white desserts will make for the perfect spread. Just be careful serving your guests so those pristine outfits stay clean.
Blue Jean Party
Nothing says America quite like a pair of blue jeans. Hard-working men and women put a pair of these on and headed to their jobs every day — so what could be a better homage to the working man? Collect your family's old blue jeans and let the inspiration flow. You could easily cover tables in jean patchwork clothing and use old pockets for banners. Serve good old-fashioned barbecue food and make sure you have enough to feed a hungry worker!
What is a worker without their tools? Honor the traditions of Labor Day by hosting a trade party that celebrates the different trades (and unions) that keep things in working order. Dress up the average tool box with party essentials and flowers for a cute and functional centerpiece. When planning your menu, think about serving something you’d love to pack for lunch, like these flavorful summer sandwiches.