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International Labour Day: Origin, Facts and Trivia

International Workers’ Day, often referred to as May Day, is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that the International Labour Movement promotes is observed every year on the first day of May to celebrate the achievements of the working class.

The day, also called ‘May Day’, is also observed as a public holiday in many countries. May 1 was chosen to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago that occurred in 1886. On this day people had declared a general strike for an eight-hour workday. As the world marks Labour Day, we are highlighting the origin, Trivia and a few important facts related to this day.

International Labour Day: Origin

It all started On May 1, 1886, when workers took to the streets across the United States to reduce the workday to eight-hour shifts. Labour Day annually celebrates the achievements of the workers. The main reason for Labour Day is to spread awareness against the unfair treatment of the labour class.

People of all ages, generally who were very poor and recent immigrants, used to work in extremely unsafe working conditions with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and minimal breaks from work.

International Labour Day 2024 Theme

Every year a lot of discussion, debates and literature is published around the world celebrating the various aspects of International Labour Day. Many events and conferences are held regarding the rights of the modern-day workforce. The International Labour Organisation announces the theme for the day every year. For the year 2024, the theme of the International Labour Day is:

“To ensure workplace safety and health amidst climate change.”

International Labour Day: Trivia

Labour Day Or May Day is called Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas or Kamgar Din in India. It is also referred to as International Workers’ Day or just Worker’s Day.

In India, the first Labour Day or May Day was celebrated in the year 1923. It was the Labour Kisan Party that had organized the May Day celebrations in Chennai (then Madras). One of these was organized at Triplicane Beach and the other one was arranged at the beach opposite Madras High Court.

May Day is a nationwide bank and public holiday in India. In Maharashtra and Gujarat, it is officially called Maharashtra Day and Gujarat Day respectively, since it was on this day in 1960 that they attained statehood after the old Bombay State became divided on linguistic lines.

International Labour Day: Interesting Facts

  • In 1887, Oregon was the first state to make Labour Day a legal holiday.
  • Labour Day originally was meant to recognize the contributions of the American workforce, and it had strong ties to the labour union movement. Today, it is seen more as a chance to celebrate the (unofficial) last weekend of summer.
  • Throughout much of the 19th century, it was common for American labourers to work 12-hour days to make a living. Children often worked in factories and mines, and there were few regulations to support workers. On September 3, 1916, the Adamson Act was passed by Congress, establishing an eight-hour workday.
  • As Labour Day has often been seen as the unofficial end of summer, many upper-class citizens would pack away their lightweight, white summer clothes as they returned to work and school. This led to the expression no white after Labour Day.
  • Labour Day marks the end of peak hot dog season. From Memorial Day to Labour Day, Americans eat roughly 7 billion hot dogs. After Labour Day, many Americans will start obsessing over pumpkin spice.
  • 1st May is also celebrated as Maharashtra Day & Gujrat Day as this day in 1960 embarked on the formation of Maharashtra and Gujrat.

No Work is insignificant. All labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. – Martin Luther King, Jr

International Labour Organisation (ILO)

The ILO is one of the oldest agencies under the United Nations. It was founded in 1919 under the League of Nations. Its responsibility is to ensure social and economic justice by implementing international standards and practices throughout the world. In the table below, we have provided a few facts regarding ILO for the reference of the candidates.

Particular Detail
Foundation Day 11th April 1919
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Director General Gilbert Houngbo (2022 – present)
Parent Organisation United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
Official Website www.ilo.org



What is Labor Day called in India?

In India , Labour Day is also called Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas or Kamgar Din.

When is International Labour Day celebrated ?

International Labour Day is celebrated on 1st May every year.

When did India celebrated the first International Labour Day?

India celebrated the first International Labour Day in1923.

What is the theme for the International Labour Day 2024?

The theme for the International Labour Day 2024 is: "To ensure workplace safety and health amidst climate change."


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