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How Americans celebrate Labor Day

Camping is one of the many ways people celebrate Labor Day. Sometimes the weather is cool enough to wear coats in the mountains, other times the weather at beginning of September is warm.

Labor Day started off as the brainchild of working men, women and children who toiled long hours for meager wages. It was designed to shed light on the poor working conditions and lack of appreciation for the long hours workers put in to eke out a living.

Through the years, Labor Day has evolved from a celebration of the humble and overworked to a commercial holiday full of sales, barbecues and end-of-summer hijinks.

That said, the way people celebrate around the country is varied. Compare your celebration to the ways the holiday is frequently enjoyed by others.

•Parades. Many cities and towns pull out the stops for Labor Day parades. This method of fanfare would hold true to the way Labor Day was celebrated in the 1800s, when workers took to the streets of New York City to demand fair hours and fair wages in the first Labor Day parade of 1882. Parades may culminate with community picnics or fairs.

•Backyard bashes. Just as Memorial Day in May ushers in the unofficial start of summer (the first day of summer doesn't arrive until mid to late June), Labor Day marks the unofficial end of the season of fun in the sun. Because the new school year is right around the corner, for some the very next day or it has already started, backyard parties and events with the barbecue fired up are some of the most commonplace festivities found on Labor Day.

•A day or weekend away from home. Even though the warm weather may continue well into October, throngs of sunseekers in some parts of the country head to the beach on Labor Day to soak up the rays and taste the delights hawked at seaside boardwalks. For others it is a day at a lake, fishing for what may be the last time in the season or a camping trip to the mountains.

•Political rallies. Many politicians use Labor Day as a chance to kick off their political campaigns by holding rallies. Others canvass neighborhoods chatting with their public and vying for future votes.

•Fireworks displays. Summer and fireworks seem to go hand in hand. So it should come as no surprise that some communities have fireworks displays on the final long weekend of the summer.

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