Tuesday, 30 April 2013

On the threshold of May day

Where does May Day come from?

We spend a lot of our life working, this is why we are so grateful for such national holidays as May Day otherwise known as the International Worker's Day. I was wondering what is the actual meaning of it, although I vaguely knew that it is due to the labour movements, I thought it would be interesting to find out more, since the day is coming, bringing summer with it :) I apologise from all of you who already know the stories, but you know repetition never hurts.
So let's see! Did you know that this holiday is officially celebrated in more than 80 countries? Yep, I was surprised too. But more importantly, in almost all the countries, this celebration is the commemoration of labour movements. It is true that we don't appreciate what we have, or we don't realise it. For instance, I always thought about May day as a day in which there is no school or work, and we get a day off to celebrate that summer is near. I never actually realised that it took so many lives to get here, to achieve 'the eight-hour workday'. This probably has something to do with the fact that I didn't pay as much attention on History classes as I should have.

Image taken from May Day 2013 Fun Photos


The past of May Day

In 1886 in Chicago dozens of demonstrators were killed by the police, during the time of a strike which wanted to achieve the 'eight hour workday'. Because of this massacre, in the USA, they don't commemorate Labour Day on May the first, as in other countries, instead they have moved it, and the official holiday for workers is in September. The first of May was still celebrated, but for other reasons... at first it was Americanization day, then renamed Loyalty day and Law day at the same time.


The present of May Day

We have a large history of May day activities in the UK as well. Although, fortunately, they did not result in such casualties as those in the USA. Still there were many protests in cities like London, Glasgow or Edinburgh, resulting in clashes with the police.
Of course there is a bright side of this day as well. The good old fashion traditions, festivities which involve maypole, and the crowning of the May queen. The Edinburgh and Glasgow mayday festivals and many others. If you would like to read more about this topic, here is my source. But what I really wanted to emphasise is that there are so many things we forget... anyway Happy May day to you all!

Image taken from The Telegraph

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