May Day

May Day Quick Facts - US

AKA NameInternational Worker's Day, Labour Day
HashtagsCompiled on#MayDay
Related Hashtags#WorkersRights, #Workers
2024 DateMay 1, 2024
2025 DateMay 1, 2025

May Day

Top X Posts (formerly Tweets) for May Day -


May Day History

May Day serves as an occasion to celebrate and advocate for labor rights. It also has roots in ancient customs connected to the celebration of spring. This dual-natured observance invites both political demonstrations and festive traditions, ranging from peaceful rallies and marches to intricate maypole dances and flower-crown making.

In America, the significance of May Day is twofold. Historically, it is intertwined with the labor movement that began in the late 19th century. Specifically, the Haymarket Riot in Chicago on May 4, 1886, which intended to secure an eight-hour workday, played a seminal role in solidifying May 1 as International Workers' Day. Concurrently, the day is absorbed in the customs of an older pagan holiday, known as Beltane, held to mark the arrival of spring with folk dances and festivities symbolizing fertility and renewal.

May Day observances in America mirror its diverse roots. Labor unions and workers' rights groups often stage marches and rallies, carrying forward the legacy of the Haymarket Riot. Concurrently, many communities engage in quintessential May Day traditions such as dancing around the maypole or leaving anonymous ‘May baskets’ filled with flowers or treats at neighbors' doorsteps. May Day is observed every year on the first day of May.

Facts about May Day

  • May Day is also recognized as International Worker's Day, or Labor Day. This day commemorates workers rights and the labor movement. One popular cause that this day commemorates is the eight-hour workday.
  • In France, it is customary to give a sweet smelling flower called the spring of lily of the valley (a symbol of springtime) on May 1st. The tradition started in 1561 when King Charles IX of France received a lily of the valley as a lucky charm.
  • Roman Catholics celebrate May as Mary's month and May Day is celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
  • During the Haymarket Affair of 1886, more than a dozen people were killed after a 3-day strike and rally. US Labor Unions had agreed upon a general nationwide strike on May 1, 1886 in support of an eight-hour work day. One such rally, held outside the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, Chicago, Illinois, became violent when police fired into the crowd of striking workers. Outraged, the worker's organized another rally the next day at Haymarket Square. The rally became violent when a bomb was thrown into a crowd of police. Seven officers were killed. A very public trial ensued which ended in the public hanging of four anarchists.
  • All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Top things to do in the US for May Day

  • Dance around a Maypole. Decorate a tall pole with garlands of flowers and ribbons. Have a group of friends each take a ribbon and dance around the pole, interweaving the ribbons to form a braided affect. The braid can be undone by retracing one's steps.
  • Have a picnic outdoors in the sunshine.
  • Attend a May Day Festival.
  • Watch a film relating to worker’s rights. Our favorite films on the topic:
    1) The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
    2) Office Space (1999)
    3) Caesar Chavez (2014)

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