When is Labor Day

The celebration of International Labor Movements is held internationally on May 1 since 1891. This is observed officially in more than 80 countries where this day is a public holiday and unofficially in many more.

In USA and Canada, however, the first Monday of the month of September is observed as Labor Day since 1894 — in 2014, Labor Day will be celebrated on 1st September.

The essence of the observation is to pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of the “Working Class”. Additionally, in USA, this officially marks the end of summer.

History and Background

On May 4, 1886, the working class observed a strike and assembled in Chicago in a public assembly trying to secure for themselves the eight hour workday. The police tried to disperse the mass. Suddenly an unidentified person threw a bomb at the police. The police, in turn, retaliated with open fire. This took several lives and turned into a massacre. In 1891, May Day was formally given recognition. Since then this day has been a National holiday in more than 80 countries and is unofficially celebrated in even more.

On May 1, 1894, riots were held all over Cleveland, Ohio, USA, where the unemployed people took out their frustrations on the leaders whose ineffective measures failed to give the citizens any solution to unemployment problems. The Central Labor Union did not want any observance on this day so that this incident is not commemorated. As such, in USA and Canada, Labor Day started to be celebrated on the first Monday of the month of September each year.

Labor Day Celebrations

Different countries celebrate Labor Day with different observances. Here we touch upon some of them –

India: The first Labor Day celebrations in India was held in the then Madras when the leader of the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan Singaravelu Chettiar made arrangements for the celebrations. Also on this day, the Red Flag was introduced in India. Maharashtra and Gujarat attained statehood on this day after the State of Bombay got divided on the basis of language. Today this holiday is associated with labor movements of the Communist and Socialist political parties. May 1 is a public and bank holiday in India.

USA & Canada: In USA and Canada, festivals and fairs are held for the working people and their families. Later on speeches of prominent people were introduced. Parades and street shows also take place. The retailers take this opportunity to perk up the festive mood by offering sales. This also marks the end of summer officially and picnic and parties are organized for that. Also the NFL and college football season commences from Labor Day.

China & Japan: May Day marks the beginning of one of the Golden Weeks and is a National Holiday.

Germany: May Day celebrations are essentially held by the Government only. Any other group cannot take any initiative. It is a National Holiday. However, even now violent political protests take place on this day.

Apart from the countries mentioned above, in many other countries across the five continents May Day is a National Holiday.


Holidays Around The World
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Father’s Day in India Buddha Purnima Nag Panchami
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Labor Day
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