Labour Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the 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 rest.
Labour Day and the International Workers’ Day
For many countries, “Labour Day” is synonymous with, or linked with, International Workers’ Day, which occurs on 1 May. Some countries vary the actual date of their celebrations so that the holiday occurs on a Monday close to 1 May. The remainder of this article addresses those countries for whom Labour Day is not linked to International Workers’ Day.
International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day in some places, is a celebration of laborers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labor movement, anarchists, socialists, and communists and occurs every year on May Day, 1 May, an ancient European spring holiday. The date was chosen for International Workers’ Day by the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886.
Labour Day in Argentina
In Argentina, Workers’ Day is an official holiday, and is frequently associated with the labor unions situated in the nation. During the day, many celebrations related to the labor movements take place, including demonstrations in major cities. It is also customary to organize meetings at friends’ places, at the sports associations, at the workplace, or at the labor unions for typically local food, usually locro or asado.
The first Workers’ Day celebration was in 1890, when Argentinean unions, controlled in those days by socialists and anarchists, organized several joint celebrations in Buenos Aires and other cities, at the same time that the international labour movement celebrated it for the first time. In 1930, it was established as official holiday by the first president elected after the passage of the Sáenz Peña Law, the radical Hipólito Yrigoyen. The day became particularly relevant during the worker-oriented government of Juan Domingo Perón (1946–55). He permitted and endorsed national recognition of the holiday during his tenure in office.
Labour Day in Brazil
In Brazil, 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.
Labour Day in Chile
President Carlos Ibáñez del Campo decreed 1 May a national holiday in 1931, in honour of the dignity of workers. All stores and public services must close for the entire day, and the major trade unions of Chile, represented in the national organization Central Unitaria de Trabajadores, organise rallies during the morning hours, with festivities and cookouts in the later part of the day, in all the major cities of Chile. During these rallies, representatives of the major left-wing political parties speak to the assemblies on the issues of the day concerning workers’ rights.
Labour Day in France
In France, 1 May is a public holiday. It is, in fact, the only day of the year on which employees are legally obliged to be given leave, save professions which cannot be interrupted due to their nature (such as workers in hospitals and public transport). Demonstrations and marches are a Labour Day tradition in France, where Trade Unions organise parades in major cities to defend workers’ rights. It is also customary to offer a lily of the valley to friends or family. This custom dates back from 1561, where Charles IX, aged 10, waiting for his accession to the throne, gave a lily of the valley to all ladies present. Today, the fiscal administration exempts individuals and workers organizations if any tax or administrative duties related to the sales of lilies of the valley, provided they are gathered from the wild, and not bought to be resold.
Labour Day in India
The first May Day celebration in India was organised in Madras (now Chennai) by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on 1 May 1923. This was also the first time the red flag was used in India. The party leader Singaravelu Chettiar made arrangements to celebrate May Day in two places in 1923. One meeting was held at the beach opposite to the Madras High Court; the other meeting was held at the Triplicane beach.
Labour Day in Kenya
In Kenya, May Day is a public holiday and celebrated as the Labour Day. It is a big day addressed by the leaders of the workers umbrella union body- Central Organisation of Trade Unions COTU. The Minister for Labour (and occasionally the President) address the Workers. Each Year, the government approves (and increases) the minimum wage on Labour Day
Labour Day in Libya
On 1 May, 1978, former Libyan leader Colonel Mu’ammar Al-Qaddafi addressed the nation in the capital city of Tripoli calling for Administrative and also Economic Reforms across Libya: We celebrate today the first of May, the International Workers’ Day; but the real workers’ day is the one on which all workers of the world are liberated from slavery and when they become partners instead of wage workers.
Labour Day in Mexico
1 May is a Federal holiday known as Día del Trabajo or Labour Day. It also commemorates the Cananea Mine Strike of 1906 in the Mexican state of Sonora.
Labour Day in Nigeria
Every 1 May, workers in Nigeria converge at the stadium to commemorate this public holiday. It is a highly recognized holiday which all workers have to observe. On that day the president of theNigeria Labour Congress addresses workers and this has been a tradition for decades.
Labour Day in the United States
In the United States, efforts to switch Labor Day from September to 1 May have not been successful. In 1921, following the Russian Revolution of 1917, 1 May was promoted as “Americanization Day” by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other groups in opposition to communism. It became an annual event, sometimes featuring large rallies. In 1949, Americanization Day was renamed to Loyalty Day. In 1958, the U.S. Congress declared Loyalty Day, the U.S. recognition of 1 May, a national holiday; that same year, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed 1 May Law Day as well.
On 1 May, 2012, members of Occupy Wall Street and labour unions held protests together in a number of cities in the United States and Canada to commemorate May Day and to protest the state of the economy and economic inequality.
Country list of the Labour Day doodle
Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Finland, France (other version), Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nigeria, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and the United States