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May Day

See: Mayday for the distress signal

May Day is a name for holidays celebrated on May 1.

The holiday is most often associated with the commemoration of the social and economic achievements of the labor movement. The May 1st date is used because in 1884 the American Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions demanded an eight-hour workday, to come in effect as of May 1, 1886. This resulted in the general strike and the Haymarket Riot of 1886, but eventually also in the official sanction of the eight-hour workday.

As such, May Day has long been a focal point for demonstrations by various Communist, socialist, and anarchist groups.

May Day is celebrated as Labour Day in many countries including the United Kingdom. It is also celebrated as the Day of the International Solidarity of Workers, especially in some Communist states.

Curiously (given the origin of the May 1st date), the United States celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September; May 1st is Loyalty Day in the U.S. Canada and the Netherlands also celebrate Labor Day on a different date.

May Day also marks springtime celebrations such as:

Traditional English May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen, and dancing around a Maypole.

These holidays were also respected by some early European settlers of the American continent.