Labour Day: Celebrations Around the World

What is Labour Day?

May Day or Labour Day is celebrated for the commemoration of the achievements of the labour movement. The day is nnown as International Workers Day or Labour Day.

How did it come into existence?

The 1 May date is used because in 1884 the American Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions demanded an eight-hour workday, to come in effect as of 1 May 1886. This resulted in the general strike and the Haymarket Riot of 1886, but eventually also in the official sanction of the eight-hour workday.

How is Labour Day celebrated around the world?

England

Traditionally the English May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, choosing and crowning a May Queen, and dancing around a Maypole; festivities which made it a popular seasonal celebration in medieval England. In England there is no bank holiday on 1st May, instead it’s given on the first Monday of the month.

Germany

Labour Day was established as an official holiday in 1933 after the NSDAP rose to power. It was supposed to symbolize the new found unity between the state and the working classes. Ironically, just one day later, on May 2 1933, all free unions were outlawed and destroyed. But after that it is celebrated as a holiday by German workers without any official endorsement for the holiday.

India

In India, the first ever actual celebration of Labour Day was instigated by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan in Chennai on 1 May 1923. It is observed as a holiday in Assam, Bihar, Goa, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal. It is celebrated as Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas and is also known as Kamgar Din in Hindi, Kamgar Divas in Marathi and Uzhaipalar Dhinam in Tamil

Italy

A key May Day (La Festa dei Lavoratori) celebration in Italy is the the annual Concerto del Primo Maggio which takes place in Rome and is attended by more than half a million people.

Sweden

In Sweden May day is also a Christian celebration; the Mass of Saint Walburga or Walpurgis Night is celebrated on the evening of 30 April.

Switzerland

In Switzerland, Labour Day is a holiday in the following 11 cantons: Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Fribourg, Jura, Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino and Zurich. The status of the holiday may vary between the cantons, for instance in Solothurn, it is a holiday in the afternoon.

So thats how May day or Labour day is celebrated worldwide. We wish a very Happy Labour Day to all!

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