May Day in Mexico – May 1, Labor Day Worldwide
May 1st in Mexico is celebrated as International Labor Day. While many countries celebrate May 1st in many ways including the old “Maypole” ceremony here in Mexico it is a day of rest for the workers as well as protest and rallies. Be aware that many government offices, banks, stores and offices will be closed May 1st (Primero de Mayo) in all of Mexico.
While researching Labor Day in Mexico I ran across some interesting facts that I didn’t know as to the origin of this holiday as for in the states they celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday of September. What I discovered most interesting is that May 1st, Labor Day origination was heavily influenced by two things. The first was the passing of a resolution at the Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada as well that basically set forth the 8 hour work day.
The second event was the Haymarket riot on May 4th 1886 in Chicago. This riot was between the working and business class and to this day, the cause is still disputed. While researching in Wkipidepia Internet encyclopedia they refer to this event as having been an important factor in creating International May Day. There was a peaceful rally of 3000 held in Chicago until late in the evening while during the process of the police trying to disburse the crowd someone threw a bomb killing several policeman immediately. At this point the police began shooting and many workers, innocents and police were injured.
Members of Mexican workers unions burn an effigy representing politicians during a protest march in Mexico City, May 1, 2006. (Daniel Aguilar/Reuters)
Mexico has had its share of protest on this day such as last year May 1st thousands thronged to the Zócalo (town center) of Mexico City to protest labor laws and remind President Fox the unions are still here and they are angry. More than 90,000 workers showed up lead by many union leaders to tell “Fox, listen! The People are up in arms”.
Interesting that the U.S. is one of the few industrialized nations that does not recognize May 1st as a holiday and how few Mexicans at least here in Baja are even aware why they have the day off. Some of the locals I asked in Cabo for instance thought it might have something to do with the workers but very few even tried to guess as to what the history of the holiday was for but were of course ready to take the day of rest which really translates to fiesta. No wonder when you see that the history of May 1st being a workers holiday did not originate in Mexico.
For whatever reasons you may have may you (puns intended) have a
wonderful May 1st in Mexico!