May Day or International Workers’ Day is celebrated on 1 May all over the world including India. As in most countries, on May Day, public and government offices, schools and colleges are closed. It is reminiscent of the infamous Haymarket case in America in 1886, although in India the day came into prominence only in 1923.
Significance of May Day in India
May Day celebrates the contribution and sacrifice of workers to the society. The day’s significance dates back to the time when workers in the United States began to protest against harsh labor laws, violations of workers’ rights, poor working conditions, and terrible working hours. May Day is synonymous with the workers’ struggle in the late 19th century and the subsequent empowerment.
It was on this day that at least two striking workers were shot dead by a police team demanding an 8-hour working day instead of the arduous 16-hour working day. After the infamous killing of peaceful protesters, more activists joined the protest, and it was only in 1916 that America began to recognize eight-hour work hours.
However, in India, people started celebrating this day from 1st May 1923, when the Labor Kisan Party of Hindustan took the initiative and Com. Singerweiler conducted the ceremony. A proposal to the government saying that everyone should allow a national holiday on Labor Day. Since then May Day is celebrated every year.
Speeches and cultural programs given by labor union leaders are common on this day. Schools, colleges and offices are generally closed on this day.
History of May Day or International Workers’ Day
In Chicago, United States, a union of workers declared a general strike for the 8-hour workday in 1886. The strike had turned violent. The policemen started firing to control the crowd. Bombs were thrown at the public. Many workers died and some were injured. A few years later, a foreign movement began with marches and rebellions held annually on International Workers’ Day.
For the first time in India, May Day was celebrated in 1923 in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. At present, the parade will be organized by trade unions across the country. Competitions will be organized for the students to explain the relevance of equality for the working community. Speeches will be given by politicians on this day. May Day celebrates the rights of workers. International Labor Organization organizes various events and events to mark this day.
May Day – A Global Day
May Day is celebrated internationally. Bank holiday on May 1 is not confirmed. Instead, it is celebrated every year on the first Monday of May. The official appreciation of the Soviet Union was given on May Day in the 20th century. In England, the ceremony features Morris dancing and dancing around a maypole. In Germany, in 1933, Labor Day was declared as an official holiday. It is a holiday in India and is celebrated in many states. India celebrates Labor Day with different names. In Hindi it is called Kamgar Din. In Marathi it is called Kamgar Din and in Tamil as Ujaipalar Dhinaam.
May Day or Labor Day or International Workers’ Day is a nationwide holiday in most European countries including Sweden, France, Poland, Finland, Norway, Spain, Germany, Italy, etc. Panama, Cuba, Mexico, Guyana, Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Chile also celebrate this day. In Canada, the United States of America (USA) and Australia, May Day is celebrated at different times of the year.
May Day or Labor Day is celebrated to pay respect to the working class, who were once asked to work more than 8 hours a day and were paid less. This day is specially dedicated to those workers who should know their rights. Under no circumstances should workers be asked to work more than 8 hours a day. Working hours can be extended, but additional remuneration must be paid in addition to the regular salary. May Day is basically a festival for workers across the world and it honors them. It is also a traditional Northern Hemisphere spring festival.