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Everybody loves to spend time on their hobbies! It doesn’t matter if it is a love of shopping, diving, going to the movies, traveling, hiking, or one of thousands of other leisure activities. Many people probably spend a large part of their lives figuring out how to do it more often.

Unfortunately, however, the truth is that in order for most people to have the money to do what they love to do in their spare time, it is necessary to be gainfully employed. Of course, there are also some lucky people on the earth who truly love their jobs!. But regardless of how much people enjoy doing their jobs, they simply have to be done.

Of course, it is also important to remember that each and every little job that a person does is necessary and valuable to society, from garbage man to nurse to teacher to policeman, and so many others.

Together, all of humankind builds society, making it a better, safer place with each passing year. Now, isn’t that something worth celebrating? Many people all over the world seem to think it is!

So now is the time to learn about and celebrate International Workers’ Day together!

The History of International Workers’ Day

In the late 19th Century, trade union and labor movements, along with countless industries, grew. This growth from cottage industry and individual laborers through the industrial revolution eventually prompted trade unionists to begin to work toward protecting the rights of the employees. Whether this was child labor laws, limited working hours, or safe working conditions, labor unions fought to take care of the workers.

Sometimes these types of actions might lead to protests, work stoppages, labor strikes or even special days to celebrate the people’s labor. In the United States and Canada, a September holiday called Labor Day, was first proposed in the 1880s. Several years later, in 1887, North America officially established Labor Day.

May 1st, on the other hand, also known as May Day, was chosen for International Workers’ Day to commemorate the Haymarket affair of May 4th 1886. This event took place in Chicago, Illinois, in the US during a workers’ strike when an unidentified person threw a bomb at the police who had gathered for crowd control. The police then responded by opening fire on the workers, killing four of them and injuring many others.

Today, International Workers’ Day is observed on the first day of May on every continent. And now it’s time to celebrate this day literally all over the world!

International Workers’ Day Timeline

1856

Australian stonemasons protest 

In Victoria, stonemasons undertake a massive stoppage in a movement toward an eight-hour workday.[1]

1882

Labor Day is proposed for the US 

Different workers’ rights advocates propose the idea of an American Labor day. Though many states do adopt the day, it will be another dozen years before it is made a federal holiday (celebrated in September).[2]

1886

The Haymarket Affair takes place

In Chicago, riots break out as workers strike and police get involved, turning to violence and creating panic.[3]

1889

International Workers’ Day is established 

With roots in the socialist movement, May 1st is called upon as a protest day for the working-class demands of the eight-hour day.[4]

1919

International Labor Organization begins 

Created as part of the Treaty of Versailles, the International Labor Organization (ILO) includes representatives from nine countries.[5]

How to Celebrate International Workers’ Day

This day was always meant to celebrate the work of the everyday man, so for those who may have been feeling a bit underappreciated recently, today might be a good day for you to do what you feel like doing and treat yourself!

Try out some of these other ideas for getting involved and celebrating International Workers’ Day:

Take a Day to Yourself

Take the day off (if it’s not a day off work in that country of residence) and go do something that you want to do for a change. Consider some of these ways to find enjoyment and rest:

  • Has it been ages since you visited the mountains? Pack a lunch and spend the day enjoying nature and the view from the mountain peak you decide to conquer.
  • Has your back been causing you increasing discomfort recently? Time to make an appointment with a good masseuse!
  • And if it’s been forever since you took the time to make yourself a decent meal, today is the perfect day to buy all of the ingredients you need and spend as much time as you want cooking something delicious and nutritious.

No matter what is chosen, this is the day to do something enjoyable and restful!

Attend an International Workers’ Day Event

For those who might be feeling a bit more politically inclined, this day offers an ideal opportunity to attend one of the many rallies or marches that are often organized in many cities worldwide. These rallies and marches are typically organized and dedicated to raising awareness about fair wages and fair working conditions. After all, the first step towards making any kind of change is making people aware of the issue!

Learn About the History of Workers’ Rights

This day is the ideal time to head over to the library and do a little research and read about different situations that have led up to the celebration of International Workers’ Day. For instance, start by researching these pivotal topics:

  • Victorian Workhouses. Infamous for their exploitation of the weak and the poor, even children fell victim to these houses that were essentially prisons in 18th century England.
  • Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. In a New York City factory in 1911, the exits and stairwells were kept locked to keep workers from taking unauthorized breaks. When a fire broke out, 123 women and girls and 23 men, mostly immigrants, died.
  • Sweatshops. Even today, sweat factories exist as crowded workplaces with poor and sometimes illegal conditions, including poor ventilation, low lighting, high/low temperatures, unfair wages, unhealthy or dirty environments, child labor, extended hours without breaks and much more.

Host an International Workers’ Day Gathering

If it is difficult to find an event in the local area, then perhaps it is time to start one. Gather together a few friends, family members, neighbors or coworkers and hold a conversation about fair working. Perhaps it could be a dinner party where the topic of conversation revolves around ways to right the injustices or difficult conditions in certain places.

Or maybe it should be more of an activist gathering where t-shirts are printed and picket signs are made in support of fairness in employment. Go with what works for each individual and the community!

International Workers’ Day FAQs

When is International Workers’ Day?

International Workers’ Day takes place each year on the first day of May, also known as May Day.[1]

What is International Workers’ Day?

This day is promoted by the international labor movement to celebrate laborers and those in the working class.[2]

Where is International Workers’ Day celebrated?

International Workers’ Day is celebrated in many countries all over the world, often on May 1 but sometimes on another day.[3]

How to celebrate International Workers’ Day?

International Workers’ Day can be celebrated in a variety of ways, whether listening to speeches, participating in marches, and showing support for workers’ rights.[4]

Why do we celebrate International Workers’ Day?

This day is celebrated to commemorate the historic struggles made by the labor movement, and to focus on continuing to promote equal and fair rights for workers.[5]

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