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Home / More Lifestyle / International Labour Day 2020: Why we celebrate May Day

International Labour Day 2020: Why we celebrate May Day

International Labour Day is an official public holiday all over the world in various countries. It is observed every year to pay tribute to the contribution of workers across the world.

more-lifestyle Updated: May 01, 2020 06:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
In India, the first May Day was celebrated in Madras (now known as Chennai) by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on May 1, 1923.
In India, the first May Day was celebrated in Madras (now known as Chennai) by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on May 1, 1923.(Unsplash)

International Labour Day is an official public holiday all over the world in various countries. It is observed every year to pay tribute to the contribution of workers across the world. May 1 or May Day as it is popularly known as, is observed in countries such as Cuba, India, China among other countries.

Origin of May Day in India

May Day is also known as Workers’ Day or International Workers’ Day. May Day has different origin stories in different countries. However, the common theme in all countries is the labour class taking a stand against the exploitation they were subjected to.

In India, the first May Day was celebrated in Madras (now known as Chennai) by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on May 1, 1923. It was also the first time when the Red Flag which symbolises Labour Day was used in India for the first time.

The day is linked to labour movements for communist and socialist political parties. In Hindi, Labour Day is also known as Kamgar Din or Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas, Kamgar Divas in Marathi and Uzhaipalar Naal in Tamil.

May 1 is also Maharashtra Day and Gujarat Day - on this day in 1960 the two states attained statehood after Bombay (Now Mumbai) had been divided on linguistic lines.

During the era of industrialisation, US industrialists exploited the working class by making them work 15 hours a day. It was only on May 1, 1886, that the labour class came together and revolted against this unjust system and asked for paid leaves, good wages and proper breaks. This is the reason why May Day is celebrated every year.

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