Workers' Day

Workers' Day

also called  International Workers' Day  or  May Day 

      day commemorating the historic struggles and gains made by workers and the labour movement, observed in many countries on May 1. In the United States and Canada it is celebrated on the first Monday of September as Labor Day.

      In 1889 an international federation of socialist groups and trade unions declared the date of May 1 as Worker's Day to commemorate the Haymarket Riot in Chicago (1886). Later that year, in the United States, Pres. Grover Cleveland renamed the holiday Labor Day and changed the date to the first Monday of September because he thought the original date commemorated socialism; Canada followed suit not long afterward.

      In the Soviet Union, leaders embraced the new holiday, believing it would encourage workers in Europe and the United States to unite against capitalism. The day became a significant holiday in the Soviet Union and in the Eastern-bloc countries, with high-profile parades celebrating the worker and showcasing Soviet military might. In Europe May 1 was historically associated with rural May Day festivals, but the original meaning of the day was gradually replaced by the modern association with the labour movement. In Germany Labour Day became an official holiday in 1933 after the rise of the Nazi party. Ironically, Germany abolished free unions the day after establishing the holiday, virtually destroying the German labour movement.

      In many countries, Workers' Day is still observed with parades, although this practice has become less popular. The holiday is also celebrated with picnics and parties, and it is often a day for demonstrations and rallies in support of workers across the world.

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Universalium. 2010.

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