Thursday, September 3, 2009

Do they have Labor Day in Italy?

So, do they have Labor day in Italy? Yes and no.
They have, but like most countries in the world, it is observed on May 1st and not on the first Monday of September, as we do here.

Why the discrepancy? The early May date for a holiday in honor of the working man actually had its roots in the United States, during the late 19th century. Specifically at issue was the conquest of the eight-hour work day. In early May of 1886 demonstrations were held, leading to the famous Haymarket Affair in Chicago (above), in which both some police and protesters were killed by a bomb and subsequent gunshots. Alleged conspirators were then tried for the violence. The international community opted to commemorate this time as their Labor Day, while North Americans steered the holiday away from the Haymarket date and its association with left-wing forces. In Italy, to this day, the First of May is strongly marked by its leftist affiliation.