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The History of May Day Explained

Includes: Article, archival photos

The Haymarket affair, as depicted in a a Harper’s Magazine engraving (Wikimedia Commons)

For some, May Day means prancing awkwardly around a feather-wreathed pole.

But that ancient Druid rite of Spring is likely not what today’s protestors have in mind.

In about 80 countries throughout the world, May Day is actually an official labor holiday, often commemorated with large strikes, rallies, and demonstrations in support of workers rights. And its roots date back to a heated struggle for something that most of us now take for granted: the eight-hour work day. Continue reading