May Day is an international Labor Day celebrated in most countries around the world. The holiday has a long history and, above all, an important symbolism for workers and labor movements. It is a symbol of the fight for better working conditions, the rights of male and female workers – a symbol of the fight for a fairer distribution of power between labor and capital and symbolizes the values of equality, solidarity and justice. It is also a reminder that no right is taken for granted, that rights need to be fought for again and again, and that together we can achieve more.
The beginnings of the holiday date back to the end of the 19th century, when workers and unions around the world began to organize mass protests and strikes for better working conditions and shorter working hours.
One of the most famous events is the “Haymarket Incident”, which took place in 1886 in Chicago, USA, where protests by workers who demanded an eight-hour work day turned into a violent confrontation with the police. The incident attracted a lot of international attention and became a symbol of the struggle for workers’ rights.
In 1889, at the International Congress of Socialist and Workers’ Parties in Paris, a decision was made to declare May 1 as International Labor Day, to commemorate the Haymarket Incident and to strive for better working conditions and workers’ rights.
Demonstrations, trade union meetings and other events are traditionally organized on May 1, where workers express their demands, celebrate the achievements of the labor movement and advocate for equality, solidarity, justice and social rights. In some countries, Labor Day is also a national holiday. In Slovenia, due to the awareness of the importance of labor movements, we have a national holiday and May 1st and 2nd are public holidays.
Labor Day is an important symbol of solidarity among workers around the world. Celebrations and customs vary slightly between countries. In Slovenia, May 1st, the International Labor Day, is celebrated mainly by lighting bonfires on the eve of the holiday, waking up in the morning and wearing carnations.