The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City. Two years, later, the holiday was changed to the first Monday in September. While it is unclear who first suggested Labor Day (some sources say it was a carpenter, others a machinist), it is clear that the holiday was supported by labor organizations.
Cities were the first to officially recognize this “workingman’s” holiday and the states soon followed. Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day a legal observance in 1887. By 1894, Congress followed suit.
The original proposals for the holiday called for a huge parade and a festival for working men and their families. “It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.” – Department of Labor Website