In Italy, International Workers’ Day is celebrated annually on May 1st.
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The infrastructure and character of every country/city in the world was built on the backs of laborers who endured harsh conditions and low pay in order to build a society that would flourish. Most countries have a special designated holiday that celebrates the efforts of those workers throughout history. Some countries celebrate the day as May Day or Labor Day.
In the late 1800s, the world was besieged by the sudden influence of labor unions throughout the world. The labor unions were organized by socialist and communist groups with the goal of fighting for workers’ rights. Many countries, including Italy, chose to designate May 1 as International Workers’ Day as an way to commemorate the sacrifice of union workers during a protest in Chicago. On May 4, 1886, workers were striking for eight-hour workday when a violent altercation broke out. During this altercation, called the Haymarket affair, police fired into the crowd after having a bomb tossed their way. The shootings resulted in four workers tragically losing their lives.
From such a tragic event, International Workers’ Day became a day of celebration. In Italy, the holiday was actually suspended from 1925-1945. When World War II came to an end, the government chose to reinstate the day of celebration as the country began the rebuilding process.
While International Workers’ Day is at times designated as an opportunity for labor and union workers to demonstrate, most citizens partake in various forms of celebration. Government offices, post offices, schools and other public organization close for the day in honour of laborers throughout the country. Many citizens use this day of celebration to attend concerts, watch parades, have picnics and gatherings with family and friends, and as a day of relaxation.