Labor Day, the holiday marking the unofficial end of summer and for celebrating the US labor force, is almost here. You may think of Labor Day as just a free day off before work and school are back in full swing. But there is a fair amount of history around this uniquely American observance that you may not know. Here are some little known facts about Labor Day.
Oregon was the first state to declare Labor Day a holiday – Beavers may have a reputation for their work ethic, but the Beaver State was the first to pass a law declaring Labor Day a state holiday on Feb. 21, 1887. Unfortunately, they established the holiday for the first Saturday in June. When other states like Colorado, Massachusetts, and New York also made Labor Day an official holiday they decided to observe it on a weekday. Luckily for Oregonians, their state soon followed suit.
Not wearing white after Labor Day was for the wealthy – You knew there had to be a reason for this. In the late 1800s/early 1900s, it became the social norm for the wealthy to wear their white clothes during the summer months, reinforcing their status in society. As Labor Day arrived marking the end of summer, the affluent packed up their white, lightweight clothing for heavier attire that could handle the fall’s cooler weather. Fortunately, trail-blazing fashion designers bucked the trend in the 1920s, making it safe once again for white in the wardrobe throughout the year.
Labor Day – not the autumnal equinox – marks the official end of hot dog season – Believe it or not, Americans consume more than 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That equates to 818 hot dogs consumed every second during that period, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. No other time period sees this much hot dog consumption.
The first Waffle House restaurant opened on Labor Day – On Labor Day 1955, Joe Rogers and Tom Forkner opened the first Waffle House restaurant in Avondale Estates, a suburb of Atlanta. Opening on a holiday proved to be a winning strategy for the duo. Today, over 50 years later, the company serves up breakfast in more than 2,000 franchise locations across 25 states.
This Labor Day, as you enjoy the day off consuming the last hot dog of the season, share these fun facts with your friends and family. Just don’t attempt to eat 818 hot dogs in one day – it may help the hot dog industry, but it will not serve you well.
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