MAY DAY. Although May Day was observed as a rite of spring in Europe for centuries, it became associated in the late nineteenth century as a workers' holiday. In 1889 an International Socialist Congress selected the first day of May as a world labor holiday to show support for labor activism in the United States. After the Haymarket Square Riot in early May 1886, the labor activists around the world followed the lead of American workers and began to agitate for an eight-hour work day. May Day was first celebrated in 1890, and many countries continue the tradition today, though the United States does not, and only recognizes Labor Day in September.
Foner, Philip S. May Day: A Short History of the InternationalWorkers' Holiday, 1886–1986. New York: International Publishers, 1986.
Panaccione, Andrea, ed. The Memory of May Day: An IconographicHistory of the Origins and Implanting of a Workers' Holiday. Venice, Italy: Marsilio Editori, 1989.
Alvin F.Harlow/h. s.