What started as International Workers’ Day in Chicago in May 1886 further spread to other parts of the world, India being no exception. The first celebration of Labour Day in India took place in Chennai on May 1, 1923. Organised by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan, the red flag, an emblem of the labour class, was also used in India.
The party’s leader, Singaravelu Chettiar, conducted ‘May Day’ celebrations in two places — one at a beach opposite Madras High court and the other at the Triplicane beach. He later presided over the meeting and a resolution declaring a holiday on the occasion was passed here. Certain other pointers explaining non-violent principles of the party, request for some financial aid and achieving independence for the workers of the world were discussed, too.
A nationwide public holiday, it highlights the labour movements for communist and socialist political parties. Known by various names like Kamgar Din (Hindi), Kamgar Divas (Marathi) and Uzhaipalar Dinam (Tamil), the ‘Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas’.
In Japan, while there’s no officially designated holiday on the day, most people take their day off since it falls between other national holidays. Starting from April 29, the ‘Golden Week’ begins. This day is celebrated as Showa Day, the birthday of Emperor Showa, who reigned between 1926 and 1989. May 3, 4 and 5 are celebrated as Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day and Children’s Day, respectively.
Every year, a theme is planned by the members of the International Labour Day, this year being ‘Celebrating the international labour movement’. This theme becomes the centre point of the celebrations and activities like crossword puzzle, anagram puzzle, word search puzzle, code cracker puzzle, word scramble puzzle take place.