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Celebrate May Day in it's true spirit

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

May Day as ….

Age as a spring festival : Well over 2,000 years old.

Age as official International Workers' Day : 126 years.

As a Spring Festival :-

Earliest Origin

The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, and the Walpurgis Night celebrations of the Germanic countries. Many pagan celebrations were abandoned or Christianized during the process of conversion in Europe. Various Neopagan groups celebrate reconstructed (to varying degrees) versions of these customs on May 1st. The day was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian European pagan cultures.

Present Context

A more secular version of May Day continues to be observed in Europe and America. In this form, May Day may be best known for its tradition of dancing the maypole dance and crowning of the Queen of the May. Well, it is a fact that May Day, which the children do enjoy with all vibes in European and American countries, is not an overly prominent holiday. Yet, it does have a long and notable history as one of the world's principal festivals. 

As official International Workers' Day :-


In many countries, May Day is also Labour Day. This originates with the United States labour movement in the late 19th Century. On May 1, 1886, unions across the country went on strike, demanding that the standard workday be shortened to eight hours. The organizers of these strikes included socialists, anarchists, and others in organized labour movements. Rioting in Chicago's Haymarket Square on May 4th including a bomb thrown by an anarchist led to the deaths of a dozen people (including several police officers) and the injury of over 100 more.

In 1889, the first congress of the Second International, meeting in Paris, May Day was formally recognized as an annual event at the International's second congress in 1891.

Subsequently, the May Day Riots of 1894 occurred. In 1904, the International Socialist Conference meeting in Amsterdam called on "all Social Democratic Party organizations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on May First for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace."  The congress made it "mandatory upon the proletarian organizations of all countries to stop work on May 1, wherever it is possible without injury to the workers."

Present Context and the World

In almost all countries throughout the world, the working classes sought to make May Day an official holiday, and their efforts largely succeeded. May Day has long been a focal point for demonstrations by various socialist and communist groups. May Day has been an important official holiday in State-capitalist countries such as the People's Republic of China, Cuba and the erstwhile Soviet Union. May Day celebrations typically feature elaborate popular and military parades in these countries. In the United States and Canada, however, the official holiday for workers is Labour Day in September. It is celebrated as Worker’s Day in South Africa and other African nations. Although it continues to be celebrated in most countries under various names, sometimes the date varies to some extent.


The first May Day celebration in India was organised in Madras by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on May 1, 1923. This was also the first time the red flag was used in India. The party leader Singaravelu Chettiar made arrangements to celebrate May Day in two places in 1923. One meeting was held at the beach opposite to the Madras High Court; the other meeting was held at the Triplicane beach. The Hindu newspaper, published from Madras reported,

“The Labour Kisan party has introduced May Day celebrations in Chennai. Comrade Singaravelar presided over the meeting. A resolution was passed stating that the government should declare May Day as a holiday. The president of the party explained the non-violent principles of the party. There was a request for financial aid. It was emphasized that workers of the world must unite to achieve independence.”

May Day is a nationwide bank holiday in India. The holiday is tied to labour movements for communist and socialist political parties. 

India Post

While our department, India Post does not have any such connection with May Day, it would be interesting to note, the department considers our job as a service to the nation and not labour, hence there is no holiday on May 1st.

Through this post, we would like to draw the attention of the Government through our Circle and CHQ, to declare May 1st as a public holiday in near future. We want it not as an excuse to enjoy a holiday, but to pay tribute to the martyrs of Chicago's Haymarket Square, 1886.

If our wish is granted, we would commemorate this day in our Howrah Division, by organizing a huge blood donation camp on every May Day.


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