Labor Day is a day of rest or the last chance for many people to go on trips before the summer ends. For students, it is the last chance to organize parties before school starts again. In some neighborhoods, people organize fireworks displays, barbecues and public arts or sports events. The football season starts on or around Labor Day and many teams play their first game of the year during Labor Day weekend.
Traditionally, people did not wear white clothes, particularly shoes, after Labor day. However, this custom is slowly dying out. More and more people now wear white all year round, rather than just in the summer. Similarly, it is the custom to wear a straw cowboy hat from Memorial Day until Labor Day, then a felt one until Memorial Day comes around again.
Labor Day is a federal holiday. All Government offices, schools and organizations and many businesses are closed. Some public celebrations, such as fireworks displays, picnics and barbecues, are organized, but they are usually low key events. For many teams, it is the start of the football season. As it is the last chance for many people to take summer trips, there may be some congestion on highways and at airports. Public transit systems do not usually operate on their regular timetables.
The first Labor Day was held in 1882. Its origins stem from the desire of the Central Labor Union to create a holiday for workers. It became a federal holiday in 1894. It was originally intended that the day would be filled with a street parade to allow the public to appreciate the work of the trade and labor organizations. After the parade, a festival was to be held to amuse local workers and their families. In later years, prominent men and women held speeches. This is less common now, but is sometimes seen in election years. One of the reasons for choosing to celebrate this on the first Monday in September was to add a holiday in the long gap between Independence Day and Thanksgiving.