So now that you’ve devoured your scrumptious vegan cheesecake from yesterday’s post, you’re probably wondering if there is anything cool happening today. Well, you’re in luck. Today is May Day! Probably half of you are saying, “what is May Day”, so read on my friends.
May Day, otherwise known as International Workers Day, was the original Labor Day that even today most of the world celebrates. Yes, that means, that if we were sipping espresso in Europe right now, we’d have the day off from work!! Seriously though, May Day is a global celebration commemorating the social and economic achievements of the labor movement with worldwide parades, speeches and demonstrations (what our labor day should be rather than a national day to BBQ).
The May Day holiday was inspired by an infamous workers’ strike in 1886 that started in Chicago, spread to other major industrial cities across the country, and eventually led to the establishment of an 8 hour work day. The Knights of Labor, though, one of the most important labor groups at that time, had already organized a labor parade 4 years earlier in 1882 that was held in early September.
While the rest of the world admired the Chicago riots and were inspired to move towards making May Day a holiday, President Grover Cleveland feared the day and thought that commemorating it would not only spark more riots but strengthen the threatening socialist movement. Therefore, he favored the Knights of Labor, encouraged their annual September parade, which in 1894 became the federal holiday known as Labor Day! So even in our history, our presidents have isolated us from the rest of the globe out of fear…..hmmm…..
Another random but fun fact about May Day: it falls halfway between the equinox and the solstice – so we’re almost into summer!