The first of May is a public holiday in many countries. It is so, because it is the international workers day. But have you ever wondered why we celebrate such a holiday? If yes, then keep reading – you will find the answer in this article!

What is International Workers’ day?

International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day or Labour Day, is a national holiday on the 1st of May in most countries. On this day people around the world celebrate the achievements of working people, as well as support workers in their demands for fair pay and decent working conditions. May Day is also celebrated to commemorate the first people fighting for employee rights.

The history of May Day

The holiday itself dates back to the 19th century. International Workers’ Day started as a result of a workers’ strike in the USA and the social changes connected with the industrial revolution. Here is a short timeline of the history of the Labour Day:

  • May, 1886 – Workers strike in the USA. In May 1886 over 400,000 workers went on strike in different parts of the USA – they demanded an 8-hour work day. The strikes started peacefully, but turned more and more violent. The main strike was on 1st of May, however the most cruel event occurred three days later.
  • May 4, 1886 – Violence in Chicago. On this day violence reached its peak. Someone from the crowd threw a bomb at the police, and as a result police started shooting back at the striking workers. 4 workers have died as a result of police shootings, while the bomb resulted in the death of 8 police officers. As an aftermath, many labor leaders were arrested and 4 of them were executed in a trial that many people claimed to be unjust.
  • July 14, 1889 – Beginnings of The International Workers’ Day. This is the date of the first meeting of the International Workers Congress of Paris. This was the start for the workers day – in 1889 it wasn’t established as an annual holiday yet, but this was the most important step, as the Second International decided to protest on the 1st of May.
  • August 16-22, 1891 – The International Workers’ Day was established. At the second meeting of the International Workers Congress of Paris, May Day was officially established as an annual event.

It is important to mention that there are some countries that decided to opt out of the International Workers’ Day, but have a similar holiday on a different date. USA and Canada are examples of this behavior – they celebrate their Labor Day on the first Monday in September.

International Workers Day

How to celebrate the International Workers’ Day?

There are many events organized on May Day. From marches to music festivals – everybody can find something for them. If you are unsure of what you can do during this holiday, you may try reaching out to related communities and checking the celebrations around you. You can do this through various apps, such as YouMap.

YouMap allows you to reach out to likely-minded people and create or use maps that will help you to find what you are looking for. If you don’t know how the International Workers’ Day is celebrated in your area, you can simply download the app and find the events around you. You can also read the reviews, if the celebration is, for instance, annual, and see whether it’s worth attending the particular event. If you are interested, check out the list of YouMap’s available features.

The takeaway

The International Workers’ Day has its roots in the 19th century. It began as a way to commemorate the strikes that ended brutally in the USA. Nowadays, however, the celebrations are much more merry. Since there are many kinds of events organized, you can find something fun to do during this holiday.

If you are interested in holiday history and traditions, check our article on Saint Patrick’s Day.