Every 1st May of every year is celebrated as Labour Day or commonly known as International Workers’ Day. It is often referred to as a May Day in which workers and the working class celebrate as the international labour movement. It is actually a day to honour the labourers and workers for their contribution to the society. However, some countries such as the United States and Canada celebrate this day on the first Monday of September every year. Though the date is different, they still serve the similar purpose.
What is the history of Labour Day?
It first began on 21 April 1856 when an Australian stonemason in Victoria staged a massive walkout as part of the eight-hour day movement. It later became an annual commemoration, inspiring American workers to hold their first stoppage on 1 May 1886 in the Haymarket Affair in Chicago. This led to massive destruction and the deaths of police officers and civilians.
What is Labour Day?
Originally 1 May was the date of the European Spring Festival. In 1889, the Marxist International Socialist Congress met in Paris to found the Second International, the successor to the earlier International Workingmen’s Association. They proposed the day to commemorate the May Day demonstration of 1856 in Chicago, which claimed so many victims. After that, Labour Day became the day of a “great international demonstration” in support of working class demands for the eight-hour day.
How is it celebrated?
Labour Day is celebrated in different ways in different countries. For all African countries like Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, etc., Labour Day is a public holiday. They celebrate it with a parade, which is addressed by the General Secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions and the regional secretaries in the regions. Countries in America also celebrate Labour Day as a public holiday by holding demonstrations or parades. In most countries, Labour Day falls on 1 May, except in Canada, where it falls on the first Monday in September.
In East Asia, mainland China celebrates Labour Day for three days. However, the time off is actually longer than the official time off. In Taiwan, Labour Day is only an official holiday for some parties. Teachers and students do not have the day off. South Korea makes it a working day, but it is categorised as a paid holiday for workers. In Indonesia, it is celebrated as the official public holiday not only for workers but also included teachers and students.