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Labour Day Around The World

Here are some brief information about Labour (Labor - some country pronounce the word that way). It is also known as International Workers' Day or May Day.

Labour Day is an annual holiday celebrated all over the world that resulted from efforts of the labour union movement, to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers.
Labour Day Parade in Toronto in the early 1900s
Labour Day Parade in Toronto in the early 1900s

The celebration of Labour Day has its origins in the eight hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. On 21 April 1856 Stonemasons and building workers on building sites around Melbourne, Australia, stopped work and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House to achieve an eight hour day. Their direct action protest was a success, and they are noted as the first organized workers in the world to achieve an eight hour day with no loss of pay, which subsequently inspired the celebration of Labour Day and May Day.

In New Zealand, groups of workers had achieved the 8 hour working day since the beginning of organised British settlement in 1840.

Most countries celebrate Labour Day on May 1, known as May Day and International Workers' Day. In Europe the day has older significance as a rural festival which is predominantly more important than that of the Labour Day movement. The holiday has become internationalised and several countries hold multi-day celebrations including parades, shows and other patriotic and labour-oriented events.

In Germany, Labour Day was established as an official holiday in 1933 after the Nazi Party, or NSDAP, rose to power. It was supposed to symbolise the new-found unity between the state and the German people. However, just one day later, on May 2, 1933, all free unions were outlawed and destroyed. But since the holiday had been celebrated by German workers for many decades before the official state endorsement, the NSDAP's attempt to appropriate it left no long-term resentment.

In Pakistan, Labour Day is a national holiday. Labour unions hold seminars and walks.

In Poland, Labour Day May 1 was renamed "State Holiday" in 1990.

In Slovenia, May 1 and May 2 are national holidays and work-free days throughout the country.

In Sweden, Finland and Norway, May 1 is a national holiday celebrated through widespread demonstrations by the entire workers' movement.

In Italy, May 1 is national holiday, demonstrations of the trade unions are widespread. Since the '90s, the trade unions have organised a massive free concert in Rome, with attendances topping a million people.

In Jordan, May 1 is a national holiday.

In Denmark May 1 is celebrated through widespread demonstrations by the entire workers' movement throughout the country. There are also outdoor activities celebrating the day in many major cities.

In Israel May 1 is not officially celebrated, but each year the socialist and Marxist youth movements arrange a parade in Tel Aviv.

In Korea, Labour Day is a national holiday for labourers.

In Iceland, 1 May is a national holiday.

In Ireland, Labour Day (also called May Day) is celebrated on the first Monday in May, and is a public holiday.

In Thailand, 1 May is a national holiday.

In Vietnam, Labour Day is a national holiday on May 1 following another national holiday, April 30, which is the day the North and the South were unified in 1975.

In Romania, 1 May is a national holiday.

In Bulgaria, 1 May is a national holiday.

In Latvia, May 1 is a national holiday.

In Egypt, 1 May is the national holiday.



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