Labour Day – The International Holiday for Workers Everywhere
Labour Day (also know as May Day or International Workers Day) is a holiday that is celebrated on May 1st (or the first Monday in September for Canada and the USA) annually by different countries around the word as an acknowledgement of the importance of worker’s rights.
The Origins of Labour Day
The origins of the festival began in the USA when workers in the late 1800’s worked seven day weeks for 12-15 hours a day, with poor pay and often dangerous conditions. Labour Unions supported worker’s right to work less, both the number of days and the hours and on May 1st 1886 hundreds of thousands of workers across the country went on strike. After a decade of civic action, USA President Cleveland officially declared Labour Day as a national holiday in 1894. Over time, more countries embraced the holiday on May 1st as an important occasion to mark labour rights and the 8 hour working day.
In the USA and Canada, it is celebrated on the first Monday in September due to a political historic decision to move it from the date May 1st which is linked to the USA’s Haymarket Riots in Chicago where a bomb went off during a protest, killing several people.
Nowadays it is acknowledged around the world as the official holiday for workers.
Activities for the classroom
There are many ways to address Labour Day in your classroom depending on the age level. Focussing on different job types, roles and responsibilities, healthy communities, etc can begin from Prep. Older students can explore the history of the day, workers’ rights (and responsibilities) and the power of advocacy for issues of importance to communities (noting that Labour Day holiday and the official 8 hour workday was a result of massive civic action over time).
We’ve compiled below some fun activities for Labour Day linked to Chinese and Spanish Culture for different age groups for you to follow, choose from and adapt for your students. Please explore and enjoy learning more about, and celebrating, this global festival!
We hope you enjoy learning about Labour Day with your students and building their global awareness with these fun activities. We love seeing you and your students engage with global learning, so share some photos on social media and tag us for us to share! @MegGlobalEd