Labor Day in Russia

Labor Day in Russia is celebrated on May 1st. Interestingly enough, it has been called many other names in our country. This holiday is often referred to as Первомай (pyer-va-MAY), May 1st, and Праздник весны и труда (PRAH-zneek vye-SNY i tru-DA), Spring and Labor Day in Russia. Its official name is International Workers’ Solidarity Day, or День международной солидарности трудящихся (the word-for-word translation of this Russian phrase will be “The day of international solidarity of workers”). 

Do you know how Labor Day in Russia started? On May 1, 1886, American workers in Chicago organized a strike demanding an 8-hour working day. The police broke up the strike and demonstration. A few decades passed before we began to celebrate Labor Day in Russia. In July 1889 the Paris Congress of International II decided to hold annual demonstrations on May 1st in commemoration of the Chicago strike, thus celebrating International Workers’ Solidarity Day. Later it became an official holiday in many countries. Labor Day in Russia has been legally observed since 1917. 

In the former Soviet Union it was one of the major holidays and was celebrated with official parades, organized street demonstrations, and marches in many Russian cities. On Labor Day in Russia workers carried banners with slogans such as Мир, труд, май!: “Peace, Labor, May!” For a long time this holiday was a symbol of revolution. Today in Russia it’s a non-working day and is pretty much just associated with the start of spring.