Every year on May 1, International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day is commemorated in most countries. Labor Day honours the labour movement’s accomplishments. In India, the day is known as May Day, and it is also a national holiday.

History of Labour Day in India

Labour Day garnered attention in India in 1923, when the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan, led by Comrade Singaravelar, hosted the country’s first national celebration of Labour Day. On Labor Day, a resolution was passed stating that the government should offer everyone a national holiday, which has been observed every year since.

Also Read|Why do we celebrate Labour Day?

History and Significance

This day became connected with the labour movement in the late nineteenth century.

In 1889, labour unions and socialist organisations designated May 1st to be International Workers’ Day. The day would be held to remember those who died at Chicago’s Haymarket Square in 1886.

In 1886, a peaceful rally in Chicago in support of workers’ rights resulted in a conflict with police officers. The violence claimed the lives of seven police officers and four civilians, according to reports. Many protesters were arrested and sentenced to draconian terms such as life in prison. Workers referred to those who died in the conflict as “Haymarket martyrs.”

Also Read|Beijing reinforces Covid restrictions ahead of Labor Day holidays in China

The Haymarket incident provided a significant boost to those pushing for eight-hour work shifts, higher wages, and better working conditions.

The first Labour Day was observed in Europe in 1890, following the International Congress of Socialist Parties’ declaration that May 1 would be connected with labour rights. The day continues to commemorate the successes of the labour movement, such as the eight-hour workday. Although the United States did not begin to recognise eight-hour workdays until 1916.

May Day is a national holiday in China and Cuba, among other places.

In the United States and Canada, Labor Day is celebrated on September 1st.

Also Read|Lawsuit against Tesla for racial discrimination against Black workers

May Day honours workers’ contributions and sacrifices to and for society. 

The significance of the day stems back to when employees in the United States began protesting against draconian labour regulations, infringement of workers’ rights, bad working conditions, and horrible work hours.

Also Read|President Joe Biden’s task force releases report to strengthen labor unions

In India, Labour Day is known by a variety of names, including ‘Kamgar din’ or ‘Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas’ in Hindi, ‘Uzhaopalar Naal’ in Tamil, and ‘Kamgar Diwas’ in Marathi.

In 1923, the Indian province of Madras marked the first Labour Day. May 1st is also known as Maharashtra Day and Gujarat Day.