When is International Workers Day in 2018? The date was set a long time ago and it falls unchangingly on May 1. This celebration is also known as a Labor Day, and somewhere it coincides with May Day.
Although the holiday is observed in around 140 states, for the vast majority of the population it is a traditional day off, when people can unite with their families, travel to the countryside playing outdoor games and making barbecue. In a nutshell, they seize the perfect opportunity to relax the mind and body.
And only for a small group of people this day has another meaning that is closely linked with the world history. To begin with, let’s learn a bit more about international workers movement.
BRIEF ORIGINS OF THE MOVEMENT
The Industrial revolution with its total mechanization of the manufacture led to the prevalence of the working class. However, the absence of the legislation regulating rights and duties of laborers made them – not only men but also women and children – utterly unprotected. They were forced to toil for the long hours without a break often doing hard work for a trifling wage. On top of that, the master always wanted to raise the productivity and decrease the expenses. Thus the poverty, brutal beatings and cuts in pay were an all-too-common occurrence.
In the end of 19th century the trade unions came into being, members of which were struggling for the state regulation of the employee-employer relationships. As we know, authorities always supported the propertied classes and the grass roots’ living wasn’t the focus of their interest. Not knowing how to deal with the worn out, longing for better existence people, the officials preferred to anticipate the insurrections with the mass arrests and ban on labor unions. If the boiling point of people’s indignation came, the armed forces violently suppressed and dispersed the rebels.
One of such boiling points laid down the foundation of International Workers Day.
THE HAYMARKET AFFAIR AND ITS IMPACT ON THE WORLD
Pondering over the question, when is International Workers Day, or any other year, everyone should remember the bloody past of this celebration.
Just as in the whole world, the laborers in the United States were highly dissatisfied with the course of the state’s policy. On May 1, 1886, around 350,000 of workers went on strike demanding drastic changes in legislation. The tide of discontent rose higher after the next day dismissal of 1,500 workmen and dispersal of the protests.
On May 4, a rally against the police terror was held at the Haymarket Square. The meeting was calm and nothing pointed to the coming trouble until a provoker threw a bomb at the armed forces. The servants shot down the crowd killing scores of people. Afterward, four workers were hanged for the crime they’d never did. As it turned out, the provocation was performed on the state’s part.
To commemorate the executed and to highlight the act of blatant injustice, in 1889 the Second International – a global socialism-inspired organization – designated the May 1st as International Workers Day. It was also proposed to observe this date with demonstrations aimed at introducing the 8-hours working day and social safeguards.
INTERNATIONAL WORKERS DAY AT ITS DAWN AND HEIGHT
After its approval, May 1 was deeply honored by communists, anarchists and other labor associations. They believed it to be a symbol of the eternal struggle for the overthrow of the political machine and future dominance of the working class.
The celebration found a wide popularity in the period when the globe became divided into the capitalist and socialist camps. However, at that time it bore the connotation of praising the achievements of the labor, advantages of the workers’ control over the capitalist economy and calling for the global socialism.
By the way, there is a part of the world population – a former Soviet Union’s citizens – that will unhesitatingly tell what day International Workers Day in falls on. The date was observed in an especially big way back then. The morning Moscow, like any other large city, was brightened up with a mass parade. The wide column marched with banners along the central streets to the square where the General Secretary welcomed the crowds. He traditionally addressed the people with a speech lauding the brave workers who were striving for building a communist society in the capitalist enemy countries and who died for the better future.
SOME QUIRKY LOCAL PECULIARITIES OF THE HOLIDAY
Nowadays, International Workers Day is considered to be a public holiday in most countries. However, it’s almost bereft of its high meaning and boils down to the idle rest with friends and relatives. Though there are several countries that stand out in the way they celebrate International Workers Day.
- Chile is one of the states that still commemorate the dignity of workers. The meetings and rallies are organized all over the country where the politicians discuss with the crowds the working class’ problems.
- Kenya, in its turn, is concerned with such issues, too. May 1 is traditionally marked with the increase in minimum wages.
- Croatia supports the merry spirit of the general day off and arranges festivities and public meetings where a bean soup is served symbolizing the age-old dish of the worker.
- In Finland, the question what is the date of International Workers Day will sound like what is the date of Vappu 2018? Vappu celebrates both Labor Day and the day of the students and spring. Nevertheless, the Finns prefer the latter.
- Worker Day in France is also observed with gatherings, peaceful demonstrations, and open-air festivities. But it’s notable for a historic custom of offering a lily of the valley flower to the closest friends.
In case the said narrative is completely new for you, mark in the calendar, when is International Workers Day in 2018. And don’t forget to make up a plan for the holiday because it’s very likely that you are a citizen of the countries that celebrate this cheerful date!