May Day is an official public holiday that was introduced to pay tribute to the laborers and working class across the world for their contribution to the development of civilization.

The day is alternatively known as International Worker’s Day, and observed on May 1. Various countries including the U.S., India, Cuba, North Korea and China keep the banks and offices closed as a gesture of acknowledgment of the historic struggles made by the working class.

Significance of the day:

The origin of the day has its roots in the labor union movement in the late-nineteenth-century, during which communist and socialist parties campaigned for better working conditions and treatment from their employers and enforcement of labor and employment laws. In 1884, the American Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions began their crusade for the eight-hour work, eight-hour recreation and eight-hour sleep framework in workplaces while also demanding an end to exploitations in the office. The demand came into effect on May 1, 1886.

May Day also became a focus of demonstrations by various anarchist groups over the years that saw mass killings by those in power and demonstrators being given death sentences. The celebration of this day typically features military parades and other cultural events.

History of May Day:

May Day was proclaimed in 1889 by the first international congress of socialist parties in Paris, and the first celebration of the day took place on May 1 the following year. The day has since come to be celebrated every year with the agenda of promoting international unity among the working class.

Here are a few May Day quotes that uphold the glory of the occasion. (Courtesy: A-Z Quotes and Good Housekeeping)

  • "Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work."- Aristotle
  • "Without labor nothing prospers."- Sophocles
  • "The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it."- Mother Teresa
  • "All wealth is the product of labor."- John Locke
  • "Labor was the first price, the original purchase - money that was paid for all things."- Adam Smith
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