Labour Day, also known as International Workers’ Day or May day in some places and often referred to as May Day is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement which occurs every year on 1st May. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement in the US in the 19th century when the industrialists used to exploit the labour class and made them work up to 15 hours a day. The workers rose against this exploitation and demanded paid leaves, proper wages and breaks for the workforce.
Amidst increasing vulnerabilities, the workers in America in the last decades of the nineteenth century organised themselves for eight hours of works a day. They also demanded eight hours of sleep and eight hours of recreation in their lives.
In India, the celebration of the day is intertwined with the anti-imperialist movement. The first May Day celebration was organised by Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan in 1923. This was the first time when red flags were unfurled in the country. Its leader Singaravelu Chettiar conducted ‘May Day’ celebrations on the beach opposite Madras High court along with Triplicane beach. The day is also observed as Kamgar Din (Hindi), Kamgar Divas (Marathi) and Uzhaipalar Dinam (Tamil), the ‘Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas’.
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In India, Labour Day is a public holiday held on every 1 May. On this day, workers and labourers come together and showcase their strength that indicates how effectively together they can struggle to bring a positive reform for the working class in the society.