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Why Labour Day Is Celebrated Every 1 May

Why Labour Day Is Celebrated Every 1 May

Labour Day, May Day, or Workers Day is an international holiday or public holiday, celebrated to salute the hard work and achievement of labour. It is also called Mayday because it is celebrated on the 1st of May across the world.

Labour Day or May Day is a Global Day.

It is commemorated to pay tribute to the workers for their contribution to the world. It is celebrated to honor their hard work. It is marked as a holiday by over 80 countries all over the world as a holiday. In the United States and Canada, it is celebrated on the first Monday of September. In Australia, it’s the first Monday in October. Many more countries, every country have their own date but the motive of giving honor to workers is same.

You know the first Mayday (labour day) in India was celebrated in Madras.


Origin of Labour Day (History)

Labour day is celebrated in memory of the Haymarket Affair.

In Victoria, on 21st of April  1856, an Australian stonemasons accept a mass stoppage on 8 hours per workday movement. This inspires American workers to have their mass stoppage.

In 1886, USA, Chicago, a union of labour has announced a strike for 8 hours of work a day in Haymarket Square also known as ‘Haymarket Affair.

The industrialist took hard work from the workers and was not paying enough. They use to work 10 to 15 hours per day in the factories like mines etc and still not getting paid enough. Due to this many workers used to fall sick, even many workers lost their lives. Many children were exploited as they are very cheap labour and work hard and paid less. The boss for whom the labour work, used to lock the workers in small crowded places for singing and talking as their punishment.

So on May 1, 1886, a union of labour gathered for a peaceful rally (strike, protest) demanding for 8 hours per day work, they flooded the chicago streets for their demand of 8 hours workday. The strike continued for days

On May 4 protest turned violent, with the death of 4 to 5 civilians and 6 to 8 police workers. A bomb was thrown on police by an unknown person who never got identified because police ordered the crowd to disperse the protest. And in return, the police started gunfire, and in this approx 7 police officers and many others got injured.

The next day on May 5, the state militia, openly fired on the crowd on workers and 7 lobour got killed in which 1 was the schoolboy and a man who was heeding chicken in his yard, not even the part of the protest.


After 3 years in 1889 a meeting took place in Paris, in Second International by First Congress, taking the proposal by Raymond Lavigne who was a leader of National Federation of Trade Unions called for 1890 anniversary of Haymarket protest for International Demonstrations.

On 1st May 1890, the first Mayday took place in the United States and many others countries in Europe.

After 10 months in August 1893, when the U.S. Senator James Kyle, a Populist from South  Dakota introduce labour day as a public holiday, in Washington, D.C., politicians also propitiate the labour movement and a bill was passed June 22 and the bill was passed in which President Cleveland signed into law on June 28 1894 on the same day the ARU joined  Pullman strike.

After that, Thompson followed Cleveland’s lead, on July 23 1894 less then in a month after the U.S bill was passed, he lea the first Monday in September an official holiday for labours.


The Haymarket Affair (Chicago Protest) is now celebrated as Labour Day on May 1 and on different dates in other countries. This is the protest that lead into many countries, even in India.

The first labour day in India was celebrated in Madras, Chennai on 1 May. 1923 and it was organized by the Labour Kisan Party by Hindustan. It was organized at Triplicane Beach and the 2nd one was organized at the beach which was opposite to Madras High Court.


How Labour Day is Celebrated?

All countries have different origin stories of Labour Day. But the common theme of labour day is to take a stand for hard-working labours and their contribution to our countries and labour.

You know about ILO, ILO is referred to as International Labour Organisation who is a part of United States, their motive is to improve the working and living standards of the labour and every year on May 1 the ILO direct marches and rallies to spread awareness about the law of minimum labour wages, forced labour and the rights of migrant workers around the world.


The town across the United States celebrate this day with picnics, barbecue, fireworks, and by meeting their loved ones. For many Americans especially for kids, it is the end of summer and back-to-school season is about to start.

Labour Day is the nation or right for the labours who work for hours and take least vacations and having this kind of celebration and partying with their loved ones is they needed.

As individual labours are making a huge contribution to the world, in which they are supporting the world as well as their family, so they deserve a day. A day on which they get honored and respect a day named on them.

A labour day is a very important occasion only when the people around the world celebrate it with all their enthuasiasm and true spirit. On this day the workers come together to show their unity and their strength to show how much they have struggled to bring positive effect and the working society and on their family, to make a great world.

Labour day is now coming ahead and I guess this year also there will be no celebration due to covid 19, like the last year 2020.

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