#EngKnowledge: Short history of May Day

May 1st, is an annual holiday where we celebrate Labor Day or International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day. Do you know what May Day means and the history behind it? This time, let me share some knowledge and facts about this day.

Are you currently working, fellas? How many hours do you work in a day? 8 hours? Where did this rule come from?

Well, here’s the history…

  • May Day is originally a pagan holiday, which is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival.
  • But in relation to Labor Day, it is held in commemoration of four workers executed for struggling for an 8-hour day.
  • On 1 May 1886, a strike demanding an 8 hour day in Chicago started. 400,000 workers from different backgrounds were involved.
  • The eight-hour movement began a century before that, 1806. In that era workers worked 19 to 20 hours a day. Imagine that!
  • Two days after 1 May 1886, a mass meeting was held. After a police attack and a bomb, 8 men were captured and stood trial.
  • Although there was no proof that the 8 men threw the bomb, and the defense was not allowed to present evidence, 7 were sentenced to death.
  • 1 was sentenced to 15 years in prison. After a massive international campaign for their release, 2 were sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • The day before the executions, 1 committed suicide. On 11 November 1887 Parsons, Engel, Spies and Fischer were hanged.
  • 600,000 workers came to their funeral. The campaign to free the other 3 workers continued. They were eventually set free.
  • Later evidence showed that the bomb may have been thrown by a police agent, as a way to discredit the labour movement.
  • 1904, the International Socialist Conference meeting in Amsterdam declared 1 May as the legal establishment of the 8-hour day.
  • In Indonesia Labor Day has been celebrated since 1920. But it was prohibited during Soeharto era. In 2014 it has become a public holiday.
  • Well, that’s the end of our tonight. Remember, it never hurts to learn some history. It even brings us many advantages! :)
  • Learning history makes you appreciate life & give thanks to those who lived before you & sacrificed so you can enjoy what you have today. :)

Sources: A short history of May DayInternational Workers’ Day and Hari Buruh on Wikipedia

Compiled and written by @NenoNeno at @EnglishTips4U on Thursday, May 1, 2014

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^MQ

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One response to “#EngKnowledge: Short history of May Day

  1. Pingback: #EngKnowledge: Diwali Festival | @EnglishTips4U·

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