What is International Workers’ Day?

What to know about the holiday dedicated to laborers

May Day, or May 1, is also known as International Workers Day on which laborers and the labor movement around the world are celebrated.

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Despite the global recognition of the holiday, the celebration began after peaceful protests became violent in the United States, where it has less meaning today.

During the 1880s, working conditions were dangerous, but workers were paid little, so industrial workers’ strikes were becoming more and more common, according to History.com.

On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in the United States. walked out of their jobs in protest for an eight-hour workday.

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In Chicago, things got heated on May 3, when police and protestors clashed at the McCormick Reaper Works, the channel reported.

The next day, workers demonstrated at Chicago’s Haymarket Square to protest the previous day’s events, when someone threw a bomb at police, according to History.com, the History channel's website.

At least eight people died and another eight people were convicted “despite a lack of evidence against them,” according to History.

The event became known as the “Haymarket Incident” or the “Haymarket Affair.”

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In 1889, The International Socialist Conference in Paris, which was made up of socialist and Marxist parties, chose to mark the Haymarket Incident by creating International Workers Day, according to Time magazine.

International Workers Day is an official holiday in 66 countries but is mostly unrecognized in the United States, according to History.com.

That’s because President Grover Cleveland moved Labor Day to the first Monday in September, to cut ties “with the international worker’s celebration for fear that it would build support for communism and other radical causes,” according to History.

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Before it became associated with workers’ rights, May 1, or May Day, was associated with springtime celebrations, according to History.com.

One May Day tradition was when people danced around a maypole. The origins of the maypole dance are unknown, but it is believed to have come from medieval times, according to the history website.

Another May Day tradition involved taking baskets of flowers and treats and hanging them on the doors of friends and family, according to History.com.

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