Ever since it was observed for the first time in 1886, May 1 has honoured the struggles of workers around the world, celebrating the working class. Labour Day or May Day has a rich history, initially involving countries like the US, Germany and France before spreading to the rest of the world. The day has been traditionally marked by protests and marches and parades.
The video below shows a parade from the US in 1937, with trade union members and supporters carrying banners and placards calling for workers’ rights.
However, it has also been used as an occasion to channel propaganda, as shown in the video below from Nazi Germany in 1933.
Another parade, this time from 1938 in Moscow, shows pictures of the leaders of the Communist movement.
Perhaps the first May Day celebrations in India were in 1923, in the city then called Madras, with the leader of the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan, Singaravelar, holding meetings near the Madras High Court and at Triplicane Beach. The resolution to urge the British government to declare May 1 as Labour Day was passed here. In the years following the resolution, workers’ rallies and parades have been held across India, to mark the occasion.