- Holidays and Celebrations
Veronica's Random Dose - Labor Day Edition
In many countries today, May Day is now considered Labor Day. Although May Day is customarily celebrated the first Monday following May 1st, for many it is simply a worker's holiday.
The demonstrations and parades of the modern May Day began in North America. This is due to the fact that the industrial revolution brought new machines that ran nonstop, resulting in the idea that factory owners expected their employees to work up to 16 hours every day (children included) for the exceptions of Sundays.
A federation of trade and labor unions in the U.S. and Canada, called for an eight-hour workday beginning on May 1, 1886 in an attempt to improve the lives of workers. When employers refused to grant this proclamation, thousands of workers went on strike that very day.
Generally considered to have been an important influence on the original observance of May Day, the Haymarket Affair (or Haymarket Riot) in Chicago, Illinois, provided the labor movement in the U.S. it first martyrs, and workers in Spain, Russia, Italy, Holland, France, and England all rallied in support.
As a result in 1889, May 1, 1890 was declared a day of international demonstrations in favor of an eight-hour workday. Thereafter, said date became an annual occasion in the attempt to raise workers demands for better working conditions.
While in republics of the Soviet Union, May Day was celebrated with military parades and displays of achievements and advancements in technology, many countries today observe a holiday called Labor Day, or International Workers Day on the first of May. However, the U.S. and Canada celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday in September.
* ( A side note - May Day has always been considered a "festival for the people." With or without their employers approval; workers took this day off for rest from their labor. In addition, the common people would choose a king and queen of the day and the ruling classes became the butt of jokes. By the 20th century, May Day had become part of the Socialist calendar, and became connected and identified with labor movements).