International Workers’ Day (Labor Day) Date in the current year: May 1, 2024

International Workers’ Day (Labor Day) International Workers’ Day, also known as Workers’ Day or Labor Day, is an annual celebration promoted by the international labor movement. Celebrated on May 1 each year, it is a public holiday in more than 100 countries worldwide.

The history of Labor Day dates back to the late 19th century, which was the time of the growth of the trade union and labor movements. In North America, Labor Day became an established holiday by 1887. However, it was celebrated in September rather than in May. To this day, Labor Day in the United States and Canada is celebrated on the first Monday of September.

Over a decade later, May 1 was chosen as the date of International Worker’s Day to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago. On May 1, 1884, thousands of workers went on strike throughout the United States to support the eight-hour work day. In Chicago, the center of the labor movement, over 30,000 workers went on strike, and twice as many people participated in various marches and demonstrations.

On the evening of May 4, a peaceful rally began at Haymarket Square. Labor activists addressed the crowd, while a number of police officers observed from nearby. However, at about 10:30 p.m., more police arrived and ordered the meeting to disperse. In response, an unidentified person threw a home-made bomb at the police, killing an officer on the spot and mortally wounding six other policemen. The police responded by firing at the crowd, which resulted in the deaths of at least four workers.

Although the Haymarket massacre happened on May 4, May 1 – the day when a general strike began – became closely associated with the event. In 1891, International Workers’ Day was officially established at the International Socialist Labor Congress in Brussels, becoming a focal point for demonstrations by communist and socialist groups.

International Workers’ Day is a public holiday in many socialist and former communist or socialist countries around the world, including some of the former Soviet republics and Eastern Bloc countries, North Korea, China, and a number of countries in Africa, Asia, and South America.

In the Soviet Union, International Workers’ Day was considered one of the most important holidays, especially during the Cold War. It was marked with large military parades in Red Square, attended by the top government officials. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many of the former Soviet republics continued to celebrate May 1 as a public holiday. However, most people treat it as just an additional day off and spend the day picnicking with their families and friends.

There are countries where International Workers’ Day additionally commemorates an important event in the history of the local labor movement. For example, in the Philippines, it marks the anniversary of a 100,000 person rally in front of the Malacañang Palace that was organized by the Democratic Workers Union of the Philippines in 1903.

It should be noted that not all countries where May 1 is a public holiday observe it as International Workers’ Day. Some European countries instead celebrate May Day, a traditional spring holiday that has its roots in pagan rituals.

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Public Holidays, International Observances



International Workers’ Day, Labor Day, international observance, public holiday, May Day