May Day – A Day Often Censored Because Of Its Associations

May Day - A Day Often Censored Because Of Its AssociationsIn North Cyprus on May Day, 1st May, banks, supermarkets and Petrol Stations are supposedly closed. In the past, May Day celebrations were often banned initially because of their associations with debauchery and later for their association with organised labour.

The Original May Day was a Roman Festival which consisted of 30 days of ‘all night revels’, or orgies if you like. Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor, disapproved and so the festival was suppressed only for them to return for a short while, minus the orgies, to only be suppressed again.

In the late 19th century, May Day was chosen by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International as the date for International Workers’ Day to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago. The Haymarket affair was initially a peaceful demonstration for an eight hour working day which turned into a riot when police who were dispersing the demonstrators were dynamited and  seven officers and at least 4 civilians were killed. The aftermath of this event resulted in police firing on a crowd the following day, killing seven people including a schoolboy and a man feeding chicken in his yard, and following a show trial, led to the hanging of four labour leaders. The workers’ May Day, celebrated on May 1st in many countries is not celebrated in the UK as International Workers’ Day.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.