Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States since the 1880s. The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.
Today Labor Day is often regarded simply as a day of rest and, compared to the May 1 Labor Day celebrations in most countries, parades, speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key, although especially in election years, events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and appearances by candidates for office. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events.
Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school. However, of late, schools have begun well before Labor Day, as early as the 24th of July in many urban districts, including Nashville and Atlanta. In addition, Labor Day marks the beginning of the season for the National Football League and NCAA College Football. The NCAA usually plays their first games the weekend of Labor day, with the NFL playing their first game the Thursday following Labor Day.