May Day or the International Workers’ Day which is also known as Labour Day in some countries is celebrated on 1st May every year. This day is celebrated by the working classes and is promoted by the international labour movement, socialists, and communists. Just like in other parts of the world, India also celebrates May Day and today Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself wished people through his tweet. He posted this message: “Today, on Labour Day we salute the determination & hard work of countless workers who play a big role in India’s progress. Shrameva Jayate!” he wrote. India celebrated its first Labor day on 1st May 1923 in Chennai.
May 1 was chosen as the International Workers’ Day in the late 19th century by socialists, communists and trade unionists. This date was specifically chosen given its importance due to the Haymarket affair, which took place in Chicago, in the US, in 1886. According to a report published by aljazeera.com, between 300,000 and half-million American workers went on strike in cities and towns across the country on 1st May 1886 to celebrate first ever May Day.
In order to celebrate the accomplishments of workers, Labor Day is celebrated yearly as an official holiday all over the world. May events and programmes are also organised by the International Labour Organization to mark the day.
Importance of May Day
For many decades, the working class was once forced to work extra hours and was paid very less wages. In order to protest against the owners of business establishments and other employers and put up a big symbol of their demand, the Federation of Organised Trades and Labour Unions of the United States and Canada decided to celebrate May Day. Back then, people were fighting for more ‘humane’ workday hours and as the years passed and the new century was ushered in, the process acquired momentum globally.