Labour Day is celebrated in Benin as a national public holiday. It is observed on 1 May as in most other countries around the world, but the date of observance can be moved sometimes to create a long weekend.
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The origin of the holiday is the 4 May 1886 Haymarket Massacre during a labour protest in Chicago, USA. As the world industrialised in the mid to late 1800’s, the dismal working conditions in many factories led to a protest movement.
The Haymarket Massacre became a key moment in the movement, leading to the establishment of Labour Day, then called “International Workers Day”, to demand things like an 8-hour work day, safer working conditions, and increased pay.
In Benin, there are often organised marches by labour unions on Labour Day. For most workers, Labour Day is a welcome day off and a chance to spend extra time with family and friends.
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