Every year it appears marked in the work calendar on May 1 as a public holiday throughout Spain, although this 2023 when it falls on Sunday, all the communities will eventually move it to Monday. The reason is that on this date International Workers or Labor Day is commemorateda day in which the labor and social rights of all employees are claimed.

However, there is always someone ignorant who considers what is the origin of this labor day there since when is it celebrated. For this reason, we tell you in detail the story behind this date.

What do we celebrate on May 1 in Spain?

As we have already predicted, May 1 is Labor Day in Spain, a very important date on which the eight-hour day as we know it today was realized. To know the origins of this national holiday, we must go back to 1886, the year in which the labor movement in the United States began to make itself felt in the midst of the second industrial revolution.

At the time, American workers faced endless workdays that revolved around 16 hours a day in factories. At that time and, as strange as it may seem to us now, there were no limitations of any kind and the ones that existed were related to people not working more than 18 hours at a stretch if there were no had no compelling reason. Otherwise, they were fined $25.

The atmosphere of tension was such that the American Federation of Labor, the most influential union to date, decreed that from May 1, 1886 the working day would be reduced solely and exclusively to eight hours under the slogan of “eight hours of work, eight hours of leisure and eight hours of rest”.

Silhouettes of workers and engineers on a construction site at sunset. / Getty

This sparked a wave of strikes and protests, which businessmen ignored, leading to more violent conflict. In an attempt to uphold workers’ rights, the United States faced four intense days of protests and police charges, with the city of Chicago being the seed of all labor protests, which brought together more than 80 000 people.

This change was led by Alberts Pearsons and ended in very violent clashes between the workers and the police. After four days of intense unrest, a large mobilization broke out in Haymarket Square where an explosive device detonated, killing a police officer.

Authorities blamed crime workers and ended up arresting more than 30 people for holding radical ideas, four of whom eventually went to jail and five others ended up on the gallows. The latter was the reason that led everyone to refer to them as the Chicago Martyrs.

Since when do we celebrate Labor Day and why?

Three years later, in 1889, the Socialist Workers Congress declared May 1 as International Workers’ Day in which the fight the employees had undertaken to obtain the long-awaited eight-hour day was honored and, in turn, remembered the martyrs of Chicago.

An international party

May 1 is a public holiday in different corners of the world. However, in UNITED STATES They changed that date to the first Monday in September because it was decided to separate that day from the labor movement over fears that socialism would be perpetuated in the United States. Soon after, other countries joined this initiative, such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Categorized in:

Tagged in:

, ,