In Réunion, the holiday schedule is largely influenced by that of France, and Labour Day certainly came to Réunion via French influence during colonial times. However, the people of the island certainly enjoy the off-work day and make full use of it!
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The first of May is good timing for Labour Day in Réunion. It is seasonably warm, and it is prime time for enjoying the outdoors with family and friends.
Historically, 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.