Why 1st May is celebrated as Labour Day (International Workers’ Day)?
In many countries across the world, 1st May is a national or public holiday, also known as International Workers’ Day or sometimes referred International Labour Day to as May Day.
The day is an annual celebration of workers and the working classes sponsored by the international labour movement. It takes place on May 1st every year. This day is dedicated to honouring the contributions of hard work and the achievements of working men and women.
International Labour Day (International Workers’ Day): The History And Importance Of May Day
The origins of this labour day celebration may be traced back to American history in the year 1886. International Labor Day also is referred to as Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas in India. It is honoured on May Day (1st May), which is an old European spring holiday. A pan-national alliance of socialist and communist political organisations chose May 4th to memorialise the Haymarket incident that occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886.
Industrialists exploited the working class in the United States of America throughout the early nineteenth century, forcing them to labour up to 15 hours each day. Workers were obliged to speak out against the exploitation and demand paid leave, adequate salaries, and rest periods for the employees.
To commemorate the 1886 Haymarket riots in Chicago, May 1 was designated as International Workers’ Day. Members of the labour union went on a peaceful strike, asking, among other things, that working hours be reduced from fifteen to eight, that correct pay be paid, and that paid leave be provided. The strike, however, was greeted with bombs, which resulted in numerous deaths. Many demonstrators were apprehended and were sentenced to life in jail or death. The episode is said to have given the labour movement a huge boost.
The American Federation of Labor established an eight-hour legal working day at its national conference in Chicago in the late nineteenth century. Many nations, including India, adopted the eight-hour workday policy as a result of this announcement.
On May 1, 1923, in India, the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan had organised the first May Day celebration in Madras (Chennai). This was also the first time in India that the red flag was flown. The day is associated with communist and socialist political parties’ labour movements. In India, like in most other nations, public and government offices, schools, and institutions are closed on May Day.