What is it about May Day?

May Day has ancient roots but also modern influences in the struggle for an 8-hour working day in the late 19th century.

Always enjoy May Day!

The first day of May has for a long time been a day of celebration and pleasure. From pre-historic times, fairs would be held; there would be revelry, dancing and feasting across the country as a day of rest was enjoyed by all except the publicans and street cleaners. And there would be a lot of fucking.

The expensive London area of Mayfair is named after the annual fortnight-long May Fair that, from 1686 to 1764, took place on the site that is now Shepherd Market. The  area was bought up and developed to become a fashionable residential district. And so the fair was banned as the poor could no longer have their admittedly boisterous fun there because it was so much more important to build some really big houses for very rich cunts.

The May Fair moved in 1764 to Fair Field in Bow in the East End of London, after complaints from the new Mayfair residents.

Over time, through the struggles of the international working classes working together, May Day gained an extra meaning…

From the BBC: “In the late 19th Century, May Day became associated with the organised labour movement.

This was a time when trade unions were growing in strength and demanding fairer conditions, higher wages and limits on the working day.

In 1889, an international Socialists meeting in Paris voted to make May Day a memorial to the struggle of working people throughout the world.

The date was chosen in honour of four men who died three years earlier trying to further workers’ rights in the US.

The US Federation of Organised Trades and Labour Unions had passed a resolution stating that eight hours would constitute a legal day’s work from and after 1 May 1886.

But during a mass workers’ strike in Chicago on 3 May police fired into the crowd killing four protesters.

The situation worsened a few days later when a bomb was thrown at police during a demonstration to commemorate the workers’ deaths in Chicago’s Haymarket Square.

A number of anarchists were later rounded up and, despite a lack of evidence connecting any of them with the bomb, they were found guilty and executed.

For revolutionaries and workers everywhere, Haymarket became a symbol of the struggle for a new world.

The traditional workers’ holiday, recognised as International Labour Day by the United Nations, has evolved into a day of protests for a raft of political and social causes.”

A couple of BBC articles on Mayday


Wikipedia page on the Haymarket Affair…

Mayday celebrations…



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