Eritrea is among the more than 80 nations worldwide that celebrate 1 May as a public holiday called May Day each year. The holiday is also known as Labour Day and International Workers’ Day, and has historical ties to the workers’ rights movements of the 19th and 20th centuries.
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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.
Still today, there are sometimes protests on May Day. But the great majority of the populace enjoy the holiday as a quiet day, a time for rest, relaxation, and the enjoyment of all that they are working for on other days of the year.
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