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International Workers' Day

International Workers' Day

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International Workers' Day (also known as May Day) is a celebration of the international labour movement
Labour movement
The term labour movement or labor movement is a broad term for the development of a collective organization of working people, to campaign in their own interest for better treatment from their employers and governments, in particular through the implementation of specific laws governing labour...

 and left-wing
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 movements. It commonly sees organized street demonstrations and marches by working people and their labour unions
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 throughout most of the world. May 1 is a national holiday in more than 80 countries. It is also celebrated unofficially in many other countries.

History


International Workers' Day is the commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, when, after an unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at police as they dispersed a public meeting, Chicago police fired on workers during a general strike for the eight hour workday, killing several demonstrators and resulting in the deaths of several police officers, largely from friendly fire
Friendly fire
Friendly fire is inadvertent firing towards one's own or otherwise friendly forces while attempting to engage enemy forces, particularly where this results in injury or death. A death resulting from a negligent discharge is not considered friendly fire...

. In 1889, the first congress of the Second International
Second International
The Second International , the original Socialist International, was an organization of socialist and labour parties formed in Paris on July 14, 1889. At the Paris meeting delegations from 20 countries participated...

, meeting in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 for the centennial of the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 and the Exposition Universelle
Exposition Universelle (1889)
The Exposition Universelle of 1889 was a World's Fair held in Paris, France from 6 May to 31 October 1889.It was held during the year of the 100th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, an event traditionally considered as the symbol for the beginning of the French Revolution...

, following a proposal by Raymond Lavigne, called for international demonstrations on the 1890 anniversary of the Chicago protests. May Day was formally recognized as an annual event at the International's second congress in 1891.

Subsequently, the May Day Riots of 1894
May Day Riots of 1894
The May Day Riots of 1894 were a series of violent demonstrations that occurred throughout Cleveland, Ohio on May 1 , 1894 . Cleveland's unemployment rate increased dramatically during the Panic of 1893...

 occurred. In 1904, the International Socialist Conference meeting in Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 called on "all Social Democratic
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

 Party organizations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on May First for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace." The congress made it "mandatory upon the proletarian organizations of all countries to stop work on May 1, wherever it is possible without injury to the workers."

In many countries, the working class
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

es sought to make May Day an official holiday, and their efforts largely succeeded. May Day has long been a focal point for demonstrations
Demonstration (people)
A demonstration or street protest is action by a mass group or collection of groups of people in favor of a political or other cause; it normally consists of walking in a mass march formation and either beginning with or meeting at a designated endpoint, or rally, to hear speakers.Actions such as...

 by various socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, communist and anarchist
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 groups. In some circles, bonfire
Bonfire
A bonfire is a controlled outdoor fire used for informal disposal of burnable waste material or as part of a celebration. Celebratory bonfires are typically designed to burn quickly and may be very large...

s are lit in commemoration of the Haymarket martyrs, usually at dawn. May Day has been an important official holiday in Communist countries such as the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 and the former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. May Day celebrations typically feature elaborate popular and military parades in these countries.

In the United States and Canada, however, the official holiday for workers is Labor Day
Labor Day
Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.-History:...

 in September. This day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor
Knights of Labor
The Knights of Labor was the largest and one of the most important American labor organizations of the 1880s. Its most important leader was Terence Powderly...

, who organized the first parade in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. After the Haymarket Square riot in May, 1886, US President Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents...

 feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots. Thus he moved in 1887 to support the Labor Day that the Knights supported.

In 1955, the Catholic Church dedicated May 1 to "Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph is a figure in the Gospels, the husband of the Virgin Mary and the earthly father of Jesus Christ ....

 The Worker". The Catholic Church considers Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph
Saint Joseph is a figure in the Gospels, the husband of the Virgin Mary and the earthly father of Jesus Christ ....

 the patron saint of (among others) workers, craftsmen, and "people fighting communism".

Right-wing governments have traditionally sought to repress the message behind International Workers' Day, with fascist governments in Portugal, Italy, Germany and Spain abolishing the workers' holiday, and the Conservative party in the UK currently attempting to abolish the UK's annual May Day Bank Holiday.

Argentina


In Argentina, Workers' Day is an official holiday. Even when it is associated with labor unions, almost all workers tend to respect it.

Brazil


In Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Workers' Day is an official holiday, and unions commemorate it with day-long public events. It is also when salaries for most professional categories and the minimum wage are traditionally readjusted.

Canada



Although celebrations by socialist, anarchist and anti-globalization
Anti-globalization
Criticism of globalization is skepticism of the claimed benefits of the globalization of capitalism. Many of these views are held by the anti-globalization movement however other groups also are critical of the policies of globalization....

 activists occur on May 1 in Canada, the government of Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 John Sparrow David Thompson declared in 1894 the first Monday in September as Canada's official Labour Day. May Day, however, remains an important day of trade-union and community group protest in the province of Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

. Celebration of the International Labour Day (or Workers' Day, fête des travailleurs) in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 goes back to 1906, organised by the Mutual Aid circle. The tradition had a renaissance at the time of a mass strike of 1972. On the 1973 May Day, the first contemporary demonstration was organised by the major trade union confederations. Over 30,000 trade unionists took part in this demonstration.

Chile


President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo decreed May 1st a national holiday in 1931, in honor of the dignity of workers. The great majority of stores and public services close for the entire day, and the major trade unions of Chile, represented in the national organization Central Unitaria de Trabajadores, organize rallies during the morning hours, with festivities and cookouts in the later part of the day, in all the major cities of Chile. During the rallies representatives of the major political parties of the left speak to the assemblies on the issues of the day concerning workers’ rights.

United States


In the United States, efforts to officially switch Labor Day to the international date of May 1 have failed. In 1921, following the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, May 1 was promoted as "Americanization Day" by the Veterans of Foreign Wars
Veterans of Foreign Wars
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a congressionally chartered war veterans organization in the United States. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, VFW currently has 1.5 million members belonging to 7,644 posts, and is the largest American organization of combat...

 and other groups as a counter to communists. It became an annual event, sometimes featuring large rallies. In 1949, Americanization Day was renamed to Loyalty Day
Loyalty Day
Loyalty Day is observed on May 1 in the United States. It is a day set aside for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.- History :...

. In 1958, Congress declared Loyalty Day a national holiday; that same year, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 proclaimed May 1 Law Day as well.

Some unions and union locals in the United States — especially in urban areas with strong support for organized labor — have attempted to maintain a connection with more left-wing labor traditions through their own unofficial observances on May 1. Some of the largest examples of this occurred during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 of the 1930s, when thousands of workers marched in May Day parade
Parade
A parade is a procession of people, usually organized along a street, often in costume, and often accompanied by marching bands, floats or sometimes large balloons. Parades are held for a wide range of reasons, but are usually celebrations of some kind...

s in New York's
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 Union Square
Union Square (New York City)
Union Square is a public square in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York.It is an important and historic intersection, located where Broadway and the former Bowery Road – now Fourth Avenue – came together in the early 19th century; its name celebrates neither the...

. Smaller far left groups have also tried to keep the May Day tradition alive with more radical demonstrations in such cities as New York and Seattle, without major union backing.

In 2006, May 1 was chosen by mostly Latino
Latino
The demonyms Latino and Latina , are defined in English language dictionaries as:* "a person of Latin-American descent."* "A Latin American."* "A person of Hispanic, especially Latin-American, descent, often one living in the United States."...

 immigrant groups in the United States as the day for the Great American Boycott
Great American Boycott
The Great American Boycott was a one-day boycott of United States schools and businesses by immigrants, both legal and illegal, of mostly Latin American origin that took place on May 1, 2006.The date was chosen by boycott organizers to coincide with May Day, the International Workers Day observed...

, a general strike
General strike
A general strike is a strike action by a critical mass of the labour force in a city, region, or country. While a general strike can be for political goals, economic goals, or both, it tends to gain its momentum from the ideological or class sympathies of the participants...

 of illegal immigrant workers and supporters to protest H.R. 4437, immigration reform legislation which they felt was draconian.
From April 10 to May 1 of that year, millions of immigrant families in the U.S. called for immigrant rights, workers rights and amnesty for undocumented workers. They were joined by socialist and other leftist organizations on May 1. On May 1, 2007, a mostly peaceful demonstration in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 in support of illegal immigrant workers ended with a widely televised dispersal by police officers
Los Angeles May Day mêlée
The 2007 MacArthur Park rallies were two May Day rallies demanding amnesty for illegal immigrants which occurred on May 1, 2007, at MacArthur Park, in Los Angeles, California....

. In March 2008, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union
International Longshore and Warehouse Union
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is a labor union which primarily represents dock workers on the West Coast of the United States, Hawaii and Alaska, and in British Columbia, Canada. It also represents hotel workers in Hawaii, cannery workers in Alaska, warehouse workers throughout...

 announced that dockworkers
Stevedore
Stevedore, dockworker, docker, dock labourer, wharfie and longshoreman can have various waterfront-related meanings concerning loading and unloading ships, according to place and country....

 will move no cargo
Cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

 at any West Coast
West Coast of the United States
West Coast or Pacific Coast are terms for the westernmost coastal states of the United States. The term most often refers to the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Although not part of the contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii do border the Pacific Ocean but can't be included in...

 ports on May 1, 2008, as a protest against the continuation of the Iraq War and the diversion of resources from domestic needs. For May Day 2010, marches were being planned in many cities uniting immigrant and native workers including New York, San Francisco, Boston, Albany Chicago and Los Angeles most of whom protested against the Arizona Senate Bill 1070

Uruguay


In Uruguay, Workers' Day is an official holiday. Even when it is associated with labor unions, almost all workers tend to respect it.

China


In the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, May 1 marked the start of one of the country's three "Golden Weeks"
Golden Week (China)
Golden Week in the mainland of the People's Republic of China is the name given to two annual 7-day national holidays, implemented in 2000:* The "Spring Festival Golden Week" begins in January or February....

. Three days off work were given, and one of the surrounding weekends was, for no more than 3 days. From 2008, only one day would still be given, with the other two days being rescheduled on Qingming
Qingming Festival
The Qingming Festival , Pure Brightness Festival or Clear Bright Festival, Ancestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese festival on the 104th day after the winter solstice , usually occurring around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar...

 in early April and Duanwu in early June, respectively.

Pakistan


International Labor Day is a day observed as all over the world in Pakistan on May 1 to commemorate the social and economic achievements of workers. Notable events are organized in various cities under the banner of 'Pakistani Trade Union Defense Campaign', a popular front of Marxist revolutionary organization The Struggle
The Struggle (political organisation)
The Struggle is a Trotskyist organisation in Pakistan, affiliated to the International Marxist Tendency . Its leader and best known theoretician is Lal Khan, and it constitutes the largest section of the IMT...

.

India


The first May Day celebration in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 was organised in Madras by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan
Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan
Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan was a political party in India. The party was founded by Singaravelu Chettiar on May 1, 1923 in Madras. This was the first May Day celebration in India. This was also the first time the red flag was used in India....

 on May 1, 1923. This was also the first time the red flag
Red flag
In politics, a red flag is a symbol of Socialism, or Communism, or sometimes left-wing politics in general. It has been associated with left-wing politics since the French Revolution. Socialists adopted the symbol during the Revolutions of 1848 and it became a symbol of communism as a result of its...

 was used in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The party leader Singaravelu Chettiar
Singaravelu Chettiar
-Ma.Singaravelar :He was one of the early leftist thinkers of India in 20th century. He was an advocate by profession and spent his earlier days for the propagation of Buddhism. Being contemporary of freedom fighters, VOC and Balagangadhar Thilak. He was actively participated in railway workers...

 made arrangements to celebrate May Day in two places in 1923. One meeting was held at the beach opposite to the Madras High Court
Madras High Court
The Madras High Court is a senior court located at Chennai , in India. The court buildings, which are believed to be the second largest judicial complex in the world, are located near the beach, in one of the city's major business districts....

; the other meeting was held at the Triplicane
Triplicane
Triplicane also has the famous powerful Ellamman temple in SMV Koil street. A beautiful Sundaramurthy Vinayagar temple is right opposite to the Ellamman Temple....

 beach. The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu is an Indian English-language daily newspaper founded and continuously published in Chennai since 1878. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, it has a circulation of 1.46 million copies as of December 2009. The enterprise employed over 1,600 workers and gross income reached $40...

newspaper, published from Madras reported,
The Labour Kisan party has introduced May Day celebrations in Chennai. Comrade Singaravelar presided over the meeting. A resolution was passed stating that the government should declare May Day as a holiday. The president of the party explained the non-violent principles of the party. There was a request for financial aid. It was emphasized that workers of the world must unite to achieve independence.


May Day is a nationwide bank holiday in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The holiday is tied to labour movements for communist and socialist political parties. In Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

 and Gujarat, it is officially called Maharashtra Day
Maharashtra Day
Maharashtra Day on May 1 is celebrated in Maharashtra, a state on western coast of India. Maharashtra attained statehood on 1st of May, 1960 when the then state Bombay state was divided into two states, Maharashtra and Gujarat on the basis of different languages, Marathi and Gujarati, under the...

 and Gujarat Day respectively, since on this day in 1960 each attained statehood, after the old Bombay State
Bombay State
The Bombay State was a state of India, dissolved with the formation of Maharashtra and Gujarat states on May 1, 1960.-History:During British rule, portions of the western coast of India under direct British rule were part of the Bombay Presidency...

 became divided on linguistic lines.

Japan


May Day is not officially designated by the Japanese government as a national holiday. But because it lies between other national holidays, it is a day off work for the vast majority of Japanese workers. Many employers give it as a day off by, and otherwise workers take it as "paid leave". May 1 is occurs in the "Golden Week" of holidays, together with
April 29 ("Shōwa Day
Showa Day
is a Japanese annual holiday held on April 29. It honors the birthday of the Shōwa Emperor , the reigning Emperor from 1926 to 1989. The purpose of the holiday is to encourage public reflection on the turbulent 63 years of Hirohito's reign.-History:...

", birthday of former Emperor Hirohito
Hirohito
, posthumously in Japan officially called Emperor Shōwa or , was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order, reigning from December 25, 1926, until his death in 1989. Although better known outside of Japan by his personal name Hirohito, in Japan he is now referred to...

), May 3 ("Constitution Memorial Day
Constitution Memorial Day
is a national holiday in Japan. It takes place on May third in celebration of the promulgation of the 1947 Constitution of Japan. It is a part of the collection of holidays known as Golden Week....

"), May 4 ("Greenery Day
Greenery Day
is a Japanese holiday. Between 1989 and 2006 it was celebrated on April 29. In 2007 Greenery Day was moved to May 4.The present observation of Greenery Day as a national holiday in Japan stems from the celebration of the Emperor Shōwa's birthday on April 29 every year during the Shōwa era...

") and May 5 ("Children's Day
Kodomo no hi
is a Japanese national holiday which takes place annually on May 5, the fifth day of the fifth month, and is part of the Golden Week. It is a day set aside to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness...

"). Workers generally take May 1 off work not so much to join street rallies or labor union gatherings, but rather to take a few days of vacation in an uninterrupted string. In the Japanese corporate culture, taking weekdays off for personal pleasure is widely frowned upon.

Usually on this day, some of the major labor unions organize rallies and demonstrations in Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, Osaka
Osaka
is a city in the Kansai region of Japan's main island of Honshu, a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law, the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and also the biggest part of Keihanshin area, which is represented by three major cities of Japan, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe...

 and Nagoya. In 2008, the National Confederation of Trade Unions, known also as Zenrōren held a rally in Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park
is one of the largest parks in Tokyo, Japan located adjacent to Harajuku Station and Meiji Shrine in Shibuya.What is now Yoyogi Park was the site of the first successful powered aircraft flight in Japan, on December 19, 1910, by Captain Yoshitoshi Tokugawa, after which it became an army parade ground...

 attended by 44,000 participants, while the National Trade Unions Council, also known as Zenrōkyō held its May Day rally at Hibiya Park
Hibiya Park
is a park in Chiyoda City, Tokyo, Japan. It covers an area of 161,636.66m2 between the east gardens of the Imperial Palace to the north, the Shinbashi district to the southeast and the Kasumigaseki government district to the west....

. However the largest Japanese trade union, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, better known as Rengō
RENGO
-External links:...

, held its May Day rally on the following Saturday (May 3), allegedly to distance itself from the more radical labor unions.

Lebanon


The 1st of May is known as the Workers Day and is considered a public holiday. From the 1960's through the 1990's, left wing parties and worker's unions organized major marches on this day. Recently only symbolic marches take place on this day.

Malaysia


Malaysia began observing the holiday in 1972 following an announcement by the late Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia
Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia is the second highest political office in Malaysia. There has been ten deputy prime ministers since the office was created in 1957. Although there has always been a Deputy Prime Minister since independence, there is nothing preventing a Prime Minister from not...

, Ismail Abdul Rahman
Ismail Abdul Rahman
Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman was a Malaysian politician from the United Malays National Organisation . He held several Malaysian ministerial posts and was appointed as the second Deputy Prime Minister in 1970 by then Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak. Three years later, Tun Dr Ismail died in office due...

.

Maldives


Maldives
Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

 first started observing the holiday in 2011, after a declaration by the president, Mohamed Nasheed
Mohamed Nasheed
Mohamed Nasheed is a Maldivian politician. He is the current President of the Maldives. He is the founder of the Maldivian Democratic Party and was its presidential candidate in the October 2008 presidential election, defeating long-time President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in a second round of voting...

. He noted that this move highlighted the government’s commitment as well as efforts of private parties to protect and promote workers’ rights in the Maldives.

Nepal


May Day has been celebrated in Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 since 1963. The day became a public holiday in 2007.

Sri Lanka


In Sri Lanka, it is observed on May 1st and is a Government and public holiday. The government held official May Day celebrations in major town and city, during which party leaders greeted the crowds. Workers carried banners with political slogans and many parties decorated their vehicles. The biggest celebration of May 1 usually occurred in the capital.

Turkey


May 1 is an official holiday celebrated in Turkey. It was a holiday until 1981 when it was cancelled after the 1980 coup-d'état. In 2010, Turkish government restored the holiday. Taksim Square
Taksim Square
Taksim Square situated in the European part of Istanbul, Turkey, is a major shopping, tourist and leisure district famed for its restaurants, shops and hotels. It is considered the heart of modern Istanbul, with the central station of the Istanbul Metro network...

 is the center of the celebrations due to Bloody May 1st
Taksim Square massacre
The Taksim Square massacre relates to the incidents on 1 May, 1977, the international Labour Day on Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey.-Background:...

 happened in Taksim in 1977.

Eastern bloc under Communist governments


Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 countries such as the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and most countries of central and eastern Europe that were under the rule of Communist governments held official May Day celebrations in every town and city, during which party leaders greeted the crowds. Workers carried banners with political slogans and many companies decorated their company cars. The biggest celebration of May 1 usually occurred in the capital of a particular communist country and usually included a military display and the presence of the president and the secretary general of the Party. In Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, since 1982, party leaders led the official parades, and in 1990, May 1 was renamed "State Holiday." In Hungary, May Day was officially celebrated under the Communist regime, and remains a public holiday. Traditionally, the day was marked by dancing around designated "May trees."

Germany


In April 1933, the recently installed Nazi government
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 declared May 1 the "Day of National Work," an official state holiday, and announced that all celebrations were to be organized by the government. Any separate celebrations by communists, social democrats or labour union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

s were banned. After the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, May 1 remained a state holiday in both East and West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

. In communist East Germany, workers were de facto required to participate in large state-organized parades on Mayday. Today in Germany it is simply called the "Day of Labour" ("Tag der Arbeit"), and there are numerous demonstrations and celebrations by independent workers' organizations. Today, Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 witnesses yearly demonstrations on May Day, the largest organized by labour union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

s, political parties and others by the far left
Far left
Far left, also known as the revolutionary left, radical left and extreme left are terms which refer to the highest degree of leftist positions among left-wing politics...

 and Autonomen
Autonomism
Autonomism refers to a set of left-wing political and social movements and theories close to the socialist movement. As an identifiable theoretical system it first emerged in Italy in the 1960s from workerist communism...

.

Since 1987, Mayday has also become known for riots in some districts of Berlin. After police actions against radical leftists in that year's annual demonstrations, the Autonome scattered and sought cover at the ongoing annual street fair in Kreuzberg
Kreuzberg
Kreuzberg, a part of the combined Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg borough located south of Mitte since 2001, is one of the best-known areas of Berlin...

. Three years prior to the reunification of Germany, violent protests would only take place in the former West Berlin. The protesters began tipping over police cars, violently resisting arrest, and began building barricade
Barricade
Barricade, from the French barrique , is any object or structure that creates a barrier or obstacle to control, block passage or force the flow of traffic in the desired direction...

s after the police withdrew due to the unforeseen resistance. Cars were set on fire, shops plundered and burned to the ground. The police eventually ended the riots the following night. These violent forms of protests by the radical left, later increasingly involved participants without political motivation.

Annual street fairs have proven an effective way to prevent riots, and May Day in 2005 and 2006 have been among the most peaceful known to Berlin in nearly 25 years. In recent years, neo-Nazis
Neo-Nazism
Neo-Nazism consists of post-World War II social or political movements seeking to revive Nazism or some variant thereof.The term neo-Nazism can also refer to the ideology of these movements....

 and other groups on the far right
Far right
Far-right, extreme right, hard right, radical right, and ultra-right are terms used to discuss the qualitative or quantitative position a group or person occupies within right-wing politics. Far-right politics may involve anti-immigration and anti-integration stances towards groups that are...

, such as the National Democratic Party of Germany
National Democratic Party of Germany
The National Democratic Party of Germany – The People's Union , is a far right German nationalist party. It was founded in 1964 a successor to the German Reich Party . Party statements self-identify as Germany's "only significant patriotic force"...

, have used the day to schedule public demonstrations, often leading to clashes with left-wing protesters, which turned especially violent in Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

 in 1998 and 2005.

May Day violence flared again in 2010. After an approved far right demonstration was blocked by leftists, a parade by an estimated 10,000 leftists and anarchists turned violent and required an active response by Berlin police.

Sweden


May 1 has been an important part of Swedish history since the late 19th century. The day was made a public holiday
Public holiday
A public holiday, national holiday or legal holiday is a holiday generally established by law and is usually a non-working day during the year....

 in 1938 but had been celebrated by the Swedish Social Democratic Party
Swedish Social Democratic Party
The Swedish Social Democratic Workers' Party, , contesting elections as 'the Workers' Party – the Social Democrats' , or sometimes referred to just as 'the Social Democrats' and most commonly as Sossarna ; is the oldest and largest political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1889...

 and the left since 1890. The first May Day celebration gathered more than 50.000 people in central Stockholm. The crowd went to hear speeches by the leading figures in the Swedish labour movement
Swedish labour movement
The labour movement in Sweden dates back to at least the 1850's, when Swedish workers initiated the organizing of previously spontaneous food riots into strikes, hence acting as an autonomous group. Modern types av labour unions emerged in the 1870's...

 such as Hjalmar Branting
Hjalmar Branting
was a Swedish politician. He was the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party , and Prime Minister during three separate periods . When Branting came to power in 1920, he was the first Social Democratic Prime Minister of Sweden...

 (later prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

), August Palm
August Palm
August Teodor Palm was a Swedish socialist activist and a key person in introducing the social democratic labour movement in Sweden, leading it in a reformist direction.-Early activism:...

 and Hinke Bergegren
Hinke Bergegren
Henrik "Hinke" Bergegren was a Swedish Social Democratic politician.Bergegren was an early member of the newly founded Swedish Social Democratic Party and he represented a revolutionary tendency, best described as Anarcho-syndicalism and wrote articles for Brand...

. During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 the demonstrations mainly had a peace message and the Liberal Party
Liberal People's Party (Sweden)
The Liberal People's Party is a political party in Sweden. The party advocates social liberalism and is part of the governing centre-right coalition The Alliance, which achieved a majority in the general election of 17 September 2006...

 also joined the demonstrations. The 8-hour working day and women's suffrage
Women's suffrage
Women's suffrage or woman suffrage is the right of women to vote and to run for office. The expression is also used for the economic and political reform movement aimed at extending these rights to women and without any restrictions or qualifications such as property ownership, payment of tax, or...

 were the principal themes during the troubled times after World War I. When the Social Democratic Party won the election in 1932 they started an era of social democratic rule that wasn't broken until the election in 1976, when a centre-right coalition came to power after nearly 50 years in opposition.

The May Day demonstrations are still an important part of Swedish politics and the leaders of the social democratic and left-wing parties use May Day to discuss their politics. In Stockholm the Social Democratic Party always marches towards Norra Bantorget
Norra Bantorget
Norra Bantorget is an area in central Stockholm. It is the traditional Social Democratic grounds of the Swedish capital...

, the centre of the Swedish labour movement, to hold speeches in front of the headquarters of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation
Swedish Trade Union Confederation
The Swedish Trade Union Confederation , commonly referred to as LO, is a national trade union centre, an umbrella organisation for fifteen Swedish trade unions that organise mainly "blue-collar" workers...

.

Portugal


In Portugal, the 1st of May celebration was harshly repressed during the fascist dictatorship regime of António de Oliveira Salazar
António de Oliveira Salazar
António de Oliveira Salazar, GColIH, GCTE, GCSE served as the Prime Minister of Portugal from 1932 to 1968. He also served as acting President of the Republic briefly in 1951. He founded and led the Estado Novo , the authoritarian, right-wing government that presided over and controlled Portugal...

, although, since the Carnation Revolution
Carnation Revolution
The Carnation Revolution , also referred to as the 25 de Abril , was a military coup started on 25 April 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal, coupled with an unanticipated and extensive campaign of civil resistance...

 in the 25th of April of 1974, it's now celebrated by the several leftist political parties with parades and demonstrations. It was an opportunity for the several precarious workers groups to show their discontent for existing working conditions, in a parade called Primeiro de Maio (1st of May), although in the present the Worker's Day in Portugal is a holiday for parents to spend some time with their children. The 1st of May also represents the unionized workers that try to improve the working conditions of emmigrant workers abroad.

Spain


In Spain, the 1st of May celebration was established after the end of Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

's dictatorship in 1975; before that, it had been celebrated during the Spanish Second Republic period (1931–1939), but it was banned afterwards by the fascist Franco regime. The first time it was celebrated was in 1977, when the Communist Party of Spain
Communist Party of Spain
The Communist Party of Spain is the third largest national political party in Spain. It is the largest member organization of the United Left electoral coalition and has influence in the largest trade union in Spain, Workers' Commissions ....

 was legalized. Since then, it has become an official holiday that has been traditionally used by trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

s and leftist parties for social and labour vindications. Commonly, pacific demonstrations and parades are made in most big cities.

Serbia


In Serbia, the 1st of May is a day off work and a day out of school. People celebrate all over the country, usually having barbecues outside. In Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

, the capital, most people go to Avala
Avala
Avala is a mountain in Serbia, overlooking Belgrade. It is situated in the south-eastern corner of the city and provides a great panoramic view to Belgrade, Vojvodina and Šumadija, as the surrounding area on all sides is mostly a lowlands...

 or Košutnjak
Košutnjak
Košutnjak is a park-forest and urban neighborhood of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It is divided between in the municipalities of Čukarica and Rakovica .-Location:...

, which is a park located in Rakovica and Čukarica. Many manifestations are organized and held all over town.

Greece


In Greece, May 1 celebrations are characterized by demonstrations. All major political parties participate. On May Day 2010 there were major protests all over Greece, most notably Athens and Thessaloniki, by many left, anarchist and communist supporters and some violent clashes by riot police who were sent out to contain the protesters. They demanded economic reform, an end to job losses and wage cuts in the face of the government's proposals of massive public spending cuts. These cuts are to fall in line with the EU-IMF loan proposals which demand that Greece liberalize its economy, cut its public spending and open it up further to the EU and world markets, which many believe will decrease living standards.

Turkey


May 1 is an official holiday celebrated in Turkey. It was a holiday until 1981 when it was cancelled after the 1980 coup-d'état. In 2010, Turkish government restored the holiday. Taksim Square
Taksim Square
Taksim Square situated in the European part of Istanbul, Turkey, is a major shopping, tourist and leisure district famed for its restaurants, shops and hotels. It is considered the heart of modern Istanbul, with the central station of the Istanbul Metro network...

 is the center of the celebrations due to Bloody May 1st
Taksim Square massacre
The Taksim Square massacre relates to the incidents on 1 May, 1977, the international Labour Day on Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey.-Background:...

 happened in Taksim in 1977.

Italy


The first May day celebration in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 took place in 1890. It started initially as an attempt to celebrate workers' achievements in their struggle for their rights and for better social and economic conditions. It was abolished under the Fascist Regime
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

 and immediately restored after the Second World War. (During the fascist period, a "Holiday of the Italian labour" (Festa del lavoro italiano) was celebrated on the 21st of April, the date of Natale di Roma, when ancient Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 was allegedly founded.) Now, May Day is an important celebration in Italy. Very popular is the Concerto del Primo Maggio ("1 May's Concert"), organized by Italian Labour Unions in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 in Piazza San Giovanni. It is attended by more than 300,000 people every year, and involves participation of many famous bands and songwriters. The concert is usually broadcasted live by Rai Tre
Rai Tre
Rai 3 is part of RAI, the Italian government broadcasting agency, which owns other channels, such as Rai 1 and Rai 2 . Rai 3 first started transmissions on December 15, 1979. In the eighties it was under the predominant political influence of the Italian Communist Party...

.

Russia


May Day was celebrated illegally in Russia until the February Revolution
February Revolution
The February Revolution of 1917 was the first of two revolutions in Russia in 1917. Centered around the then capital Petrograd in March . Its immediate result was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, the end of the Romanov dynasty, and the end of the Russian Empire...

 enabled the first legal celebration in 1917. The following year, after the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 seizure of power
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, the May Day celebrations were boycotted by Mensheviks, Left Socialist Revolutionaries and anarchists
Anarchism in Russia
Russian anarchism is anarchism in Russia or among Russians. The three categories of Russian anarchism were anarchist communism, anarcho-syndicalism and anarchist individualism...

. It became an important official holiday of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, celebrated with elaborate popular parade in the centre of the major cities. The biggest celebration was traditionally organized on the Red Square
Red Square
Red Square is a city square in Moscow, Russia. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod...

, where the General Secretary of the CPSU and other party and government leaders stood atop Lenin's Mausoleum
Lenin's Mausoleum
Lenin's Mausoleum also known as Lenin's Tomb, situated in Red Square in the center of Moscow, is the mausoleum that serves as the current resting place of Vladimir Lenin. His embalmed body has been on public display there since shortly after his death in 1924...

 and waved to the crowds. Since 1992, May Day is officially called "The Day of Spring and Labour", and remains a major holiday in the present-day Russia.

United Kingdom


In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in recent years, the anti-capitalist
Anti-capitalism
Anti-capitalism describes a wide variety of movements, ideas, and attitudes which oppose capitalism. Anti-capitalists, in the strict sense of the word, are those who wish to completely replace capitalism with another system....

 movement has organised a number of large protests in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, and Doncaster
Doncaster
Doncaster is a town in South Yorkshire, England, and the principal settlement of the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster. The town is about from Sheffield and is popularly referred to as "Donny"...

. In London, these have resulted in clashes with the police. In 2000, the clashes ended with a branch of McDonalds being smashed and a statue of Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 being given a grass Mohawk hairstyle
Mohawk hairstyle
The mohawk is a hairstyle in which, in the most common variety, both sides of the head are shaven, leaving a strip of noticeably longer hair...

. The Cenotaph
Cenotaph
A cenotaph is an "empty tomb" or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been interred elsewhere. The word derives from the Greek κενοτάφιον = kenotaphion...

 was also defaced with graffiti
Graffiti
Graffiti is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any manner on property....

. In the last few years, demonstrations have been more peaceful, with marches and gatherings, particularly in central London. The current Conservative-led coalition government in March 2011 announced plans to move the May Day bank holiday to October in order to lengthen the tourist season. A London rally on May Day is organised by the London May Day Organising Committee (LMDOC).

Egypt


The 1st of May is known as Labor Day and is considered a paid holiday. The President of Egypt
President of Egypt
The President of the Arab Republic of Egypt is the head of state of Egypt.Under the Constitution of Egypt, the president is also the supreme commander of the armed forces and head of the executive branch of the Egyptian government....

 traditionally presides over the official May Day celebrations in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

; however, owing to the absence of a president pursuant to the Revolution of 2011
2011 Egyptian revolution
The 2011 Egyptian revolution took place following a popular uprising that began on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 and is still continuing as of November 2011. The uprising was mainly a campaign of non-violent civil resistance, which featured a series of demonstrations, marches, acts of civil...

, as well as corruption charges faced by the head of the state-controlled national trade union centre (the Egyptian Trades Unions Federation), the 2011 celebrations were organized by independent unions (united under the banner of the Egyptian Federation for Independent Trades Unions) for the first time since the Revolution of 1952.

South Africa



In South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, Workers' Day has been celebrated as a national public holiday on the 1 May each year since 1994.

See also


  • EuroMayDay
    EuroMayDay
    EuroMayDay is a political day of action against precarity promoted by a network of feminist, anti-capitalist and migrant groups and collectives in mostly Western Europe. It takes place on the 1st of May each year, May Day, traditionally a celebration of solidarity among workers across the world...

  • Industrial Workers of the World
    Industrial Workers of the World
    The Industrial Workers of the World is an international union. At its peak in 1923, the organization claimed some 100,000 members in good standing, and could marshal the support of perhaps 300,000 workers. Its membership declined dramatically after a 1924 split brought on by internal conflict...

  • Labour Day
    Labour Day
    Labour Day or Labor Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for...


External links