Labour Day 2019: Four facts you should know about the international holiday

The holiday also goes by the name Workers' Day

Chelsea Ritschel
Wednesday 01 May 2019 09:15
Labour Day 2019: Four facts you should know about the international holiday

Google is celebrating Labour Day with a Google Doodle honouring workers around the world.

Labour Day, celebrated around the globe on 1 May, is a day dedicated to labourers of the working class.

The day originated in the US in the 19th century when the labour union movement rose up against unjust working conditions and demanded better pay, reasonable hours, and paid leaves.

While the day stands for different things depending on the country, the overall theme of the public holiday is celebrating the achievements of workers.

These are four interesting things you should know about Labour Day.

It began in Chicago

The holiday originated in the US city in 1886 as a protest in support of an eight-hour workday and saw thousands of labourers around the country take to the streets. The day commemorates the Haymarket affair, which took place on 4 May.

The Haymarket affair began as a peaceful labour rally near Chicago's Haymarket Square before turning violent when a protestor threw a bomb at police. At least eight people died as a result of the explosion, which led to the conviction of eight radical labour activists.

The number eight is symbolic

The number’s importance symbolises the work-day length advocated for by members of the labour union movement.

In Australia, where one of the first Labour Day marches occurred on 1 May 1891, the number is often seen on union buildings.

It also goes by the name Workers' Day

In some countries, such as Ethiopia, South Africa, and Brazil, the public holiday is referred to as International Worker’s Day or just Worker’s day.

The theme of this year's holiday is "Uniting Workers for Social and Economic Advancement".

America celebrates the holiday on a different day

Although the labour movement has its roots in the US, Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September rather than in May.

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While historical reports vary, it is said that the official holiday takes place in September because it was first celebrated in the early 1880s by the Central Labor Union - years before labourers would protest their working conditions.

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