International Workers’ Day was officially recognized in 1889 at the first International Socialist Congress in Paris to commemorate the Haymarket Affair—a bloody confrontation between striking union workers and Chicago police in 1886.
The Day is an international holiday honoring the struggles of the working class and efforts of labor unions.
Each year, people across the globe commemorate Labor Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, with large-scale political protests (paywall) organized by socialist groups and labor unions. In many countries, May Day is an official public holiday, and workers have the day off.
Though it’s celebrated internationally, Labor Day originated in the United States and has its roots in the rise of trade unions in 19th century Chicago, their hard-fought battle for workers’ rights, and the fight for the eight-hour workday.