May 1 of each year countries around the world conduct demonstrations to celebrate labor rights. May Day is also known as the International Workers’ Day. Communist bloc countries such as Cuba and Russia are among countries that holds massive May Day rallies.
Even though most Americans don’t realize, the origins of the May Day is rooted in the U.S. The official start of the May Day is considered to be the job walk-off by more than 300,000 workers in over 13,000 businesses on May 1, 1886 in the U.S. Workers were demanding an 8-hour workday as well as improved safety measures. This job walk-off led to subsequent unrest in the country and struggles between police and workers for many months.
Today, May Day rallies are much more symbolic than actions. Workers in many cities like Los Angeles, promote special causes such as immigration rights on that day. In many countries it is an opportunity for workers to celebrate progress made by organized labor.
There are 66 countries in the world that recognize the May Day as an official holiday. Financial markets around the world including Germany and Hong Kong are closed on May Day. But the U.S. markets are open on that day.