Home » International Workers’ Day 2021: History & Significance Of May Day

International Workers’ Day 2021: History & Significance Of May Day

by RTD Journal

 

Every year on May 1, International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day in most countries, is commemorated. The day is a worldwide celebration of labourers. The roots of the day can be traced back to the labour movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement. May Day is celebrated in countries such as India, Cuba, and China, among others.

Workers’ Day History:

May 1 is celebrated as an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival, but it became synonymous with the labour movement in the late 19th century when trade unions and socialist organisations declared it a day in support of workers. International Workers’ Day was chosen to commemorate the 1886 Haymarket Square incident in Chicago, Illinois, in which a peaceful demonstration in support of workers devolved into a violent confrontation with the police, killing at least 38 people and 7 police officers. Injuries were reported to 60 police officers and 115 civilians. The “Haymarket Martyrs” were those who died as a result of the clash.

The 1904 Sixth Conference of the Second International, proclaimed “All Social Democratic Party organisations and union workers in all countries to mobilize energetically on the First of May for the legal establishment of the eight-hour day, for the proletariat’s class demands, and for peaceful coexistence”.

Workers’ Day Significance:

Labour Day commemorates past labour struggles against workers’ rights violations, including lengthy workdays and weeks, poor conditions and child labour.

In dozens of countries, May Day is an official holiday. In the US and Canada, Labour Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September.

May 1 has long been associated with rural traditional farmer’s festivals in Europe, but it was later associated with the new labour movement.

Workers’ Day Significance In India:

On May 1, 1923, the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan celebrated the first May Day in India in Madras (now known as Chennai). It was also the first time in India that the Red Flag, which symbolises Labor Day, was raised.

The day is associated with communist and socialist political parties’ labour movements. In Hindi, Labor Day is known as Kamgar Din or Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas, in Marathi as Kamgar Divas, and in Tamil as Uzhaipalar Naal.

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