History of labor day

May 1st is sacred! And this is tomorrow. But what are the origins of this festival? Labor Day, celebrates International workers day, Lily of the Valley… so many possible names for these 24 hours of rest. Finally this is not always the case…


It must go back to the 19th century (Yes it is very far), may 1, 1886, exactly. This feast is not born in France but to the United States Chicago specifically, at the strike of American unions calling 8-hour day. Rioting ensued and made the dead…

It was in 1890 that instead the real first labour day. At the time, the manifesting wore a red triangle, symbol of their triple demand: 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of leisure.

In 1891, the Red leash triangle square flower of Briar Rose in tribute to the manifestation of Fourmies (59) that lead to and where a woman wearing an eglantine was killed.

It will take until 1907 that the sprig of lily of the Valley (symbol of spring) replaces the eglantine. It is worn in the buttonhole with a Red Ribbon.

The formalization

It is during the German occupation, in 1947, that 1 May is officially designated as the labour day and thus becomes a holiday. (this is much less far already!)

However, this will disappear in the 50s and 60s party, parades being banned during the wars in Indochina and Algeria. It is expected may 1, 1968 that the CGT organized a large demonstration in the streets of Paris. (source Wikipedia)

The feast of the work in the world

The labour day is commemorated in all European countries with the exception of the Switzerland and the Netherlands.

It is also celebrated in South Africa, Latin America, Russia, and the Japan.

In the United Kingdom, it is the first Monday in may, which is celebrated.

In the United States ‘Labor Day’ is celebrated the first Monday in September, in memory of another episode of labour repression. (sources the user)

That become today?

Today the labour day is an opportunity to sell the thrush for people like you and me. But it is above all a day where the people is called the streets by trade unions to protest.

And you, what are you going to do tomorrow?


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