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When is Labor Day 2023 and why do we celebrate it?

Brush up on the holiday's history before heading into the three-day weekend.

For many people, Labor Day represents the end of summer, even though the calendar says summer doesn't officially conclude until the fall equinox, which typically happens a couple weeks after the holiday.

While the temperature often remains well into the shorts territory for most of the month, September is when everyone's attention begins to turn to things like back-to-school, pumpkin spice, Halloween and, yep, the holiday season, too.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. First things first: If you're wondering, "When is Labor Day in 2023?" not to worry, because we've got the answer.

Labor Day always falls on the first Monday of September and this year the holiday lands on Monday, Sept. 4, 2023.

Last year, it landed on Sept. 5, and in 2024 (a Leap Year, if you didn’t already know), Labor Day will arrive a bit early on Monday, Sept. 2.

Unlike Christmas, New Year's Day and other holidays that fall on the same calendar date every year (but different days of the week), Labor Day always lands on the first Monday in September. Because of that, the dates change from year to year and, understandably, it can be hard to keep track of just exactly when it is.

To ensure you've got plenty of time to plan a last-minute getaway with the family or one last beach day to soak up some sun, we've more details on Labor Day 2023, along with other interesting Labor Day facts like why we celebrate the holiday to begin with and whether or not wearing white after Labor Day really is a fashion faux pas.

So, read on to find out everything you need to know.

Why do we celebrate Labor Day?

The idea of Labor Day emerged in the late 19th century out of the organized labor movements. In September 1882, unions in New York decided to throw themselves a parade to celebrate unions as a concept and the hard-working people comprising them.

Even though workers had to give up a day’s pay to attend, more than 20,000 people showed up to the parade. It was a celebration of historic proportions.

Soon, unions in other states started having September parades, and within five years, several states declared “Labor Day” official state holidays. In 1894, 12 years after the first labor parade in New York, President Grover Cleveland signed an act establishing Labor Day as a federal holiday on the first Monday of every September.

Still, the original spirit of honoring the work force remains, and Labor Day is a paid holiday for many American workers.

When do Labor Day sales start?

Another common tradition on Labor Day is to shop the many sales and discounts retailers offer over the long weekend. If you’re in the market for a kitchen appliance, a new washer or dryer or mattress, the three-day weekend is an excellent time to hit one of many stores open on Labor Day because big ticket items are often marked down.

Can you wear white after Labor Day?

Wearing white after Labor Day has long been considered a fashion faux-pas. However, no one is certain where the rule “you cannot wear white after Labor Day” came from.

Some fashion historians say it was pure snobbery — a social rule set in place by the American nouveau riche as a way to easily denote who was wealthy and who wasn’t, because people with less money could not afford seasonal clothes.

Others say that not wearing white after Labor Day simply came about because Labor Day marked the end of summer and white was traditionally thought of as summer-wear. Once the weather turned colder, people naturally favored darker clothing, like gray sweaters and dark navy suits.

Over time this natural trend became codified into fashion tradition. Either way, despite what fashion critics might say, it’s not a hard and fast rule. Coco Chanel famously bucked the trend and wore white year-round, so in 2023 there’s no reason not to wear your favorite white clothes in the fall, winter and spring, too.