May Day is recognized as an official national holiday in 86 states, only it is called differently: Labor Day, Spring Day, International Workers’ Day. And it all started back in 1886, when on the first of May a large-scale protest action of workers took place in Chicago, USA. Its participants demanded an 8-hour working day instead of a 15-hour one, but the demands were not heard, and the event led to numerous casualties.
On the orders of the authorities, the police opened massive fire on the protesters, killing hundreds of protesters. In memory of the dead and in defense of their rights, workers around the world hold protests on May 1, demanding better working conditions, this day has become Labor Day in the calendar.
The Congress of the Second International, held in Paris in 1889, decided to call May 1 World Day of Workers’ Solidarity – in memory of the workers of Chicago, who were the first to rebel against the existing system. At the congress, it was decided that people in all countries of the world have the right to go to rallies every year on May 1 with social demands, that is, they officially recognized the Labor Day at the state level.
Inspired by the example of their American colleagues, and then by the actions of the Poles, Russian workers also began to hold mass protests. The first demonstrations took place in 1897, but mass celebrations were informal for a long time. Only in 1901 did the first slogans appear that openly demanded a change of power.
Initially having only a political connotation, May Day eventually became a favorite folk holiday. People celebrated this date in the family circle and meeting with friends, enjoying the festive weekend. Their first day, according to tradition, was dedicated to parades, processions, demonstrations. The second day was given to a good rest, people often spent it with friends in nature, arranging May Day.
By 1912, the number of representatives of the proletariat participating in the May demonstrations reached 400,000. And in 1917, millions of people marched through the streets, demanding the overthrow of the tsarist government.
From this year, Russian May Day became official, and demonstrations began to be held openly. On this day, entire work teams walked along the streets of Russian cities, with posters reflecting the existing ideology in their hands. And the reward for the most distinguished was the opportunity to participate in the main parade of the country, which was held on Red Square in the capital.
So the Day of International Solidarity of Workers gradually turned from political rallies into a favorite national celebration. Red flags and balloons are still indispensable attributes of this holiday. The older generation likes to remember what a unique festive atmosphere prevailed these days throughout the country, says GreekReporter.