International Labour Day: History And Significance Of May Day

New Delhi: International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day in most countries, is celebrated on May 1 every year.

The day is a celebration of labourers around the world. The day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement. Popularly known as May Day, the day is observed in countries such as India, Cuba and China among other countries.

Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement in the United States in the 19th Century. In the United States and Canada, Labour Day is however celebrated on the first Monday in September, honouring workers and their contribution to society.

In 1889, a body of socialist groups and trade unions, in the US designated May 1 as a day for workers. This was in rememberance of the Haymarket Riots in Chicago in 1886, when a labour protest rally turned violent after someone threw a bomb at the police. According to the history.com, ”…at least eight people died as a result of the violence that day. Despite a lack of evidence against them, eight radical labour activists were convicted.”

May 1 in Europe, has historically always been linked with rural traditional farmers’ festivals but later on May Day became associated with the modern labour movement.

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