Bulgarians celebrate May Day

International Workers Day
01.05.2022 / 14:05

The 1st of May is one of the official holidays in Bulgaria and an official day off work.

For the first time, an attempt to celebrate May Day (i.e. Labor Day, International Workers' Day) in our country was made in 1890 by the Topographic Society. In 1939, May Day was declared an official holiday, and in 1945 the communist authorities began to celebrate the holiday every year. After the end of the communist regime in 1989, May Day continued to be an official and non-working day, but the government did not engage in organizing mass events, as it did under socialism.

The history of the holiday is connected with the international socialist movement in the 19th century and the workers' protests for respect for basic social rights. It began on May 1, 1886, in the United States, when unions staged an informal national strike involving more than 300,000 workers across the country demanding an official 8-hour workday. After three days of protests in Chicago, police and private security guards dispersed the protesters, injuring about 200 people and killing at least four. On May 4, during a subsequent protest against police violence, a bomb was thrown at police, killing one police officer and injuring six others. Seven anarchists were quickly convicted and executed, later acquitted.

In 1889, the founding congress of the Second International, held in Paris, called for international demonstrations in solidarity with the Chicago protests. In 1904, the International Conference of Socialists in Amsterdam called on "all social democratic parties and trade unions on all sides to vigorously demonstrate on May Day for the official recognition of the 8-hour working day, for the rights of the proletariat and for world peace." Since the most effective way to demonstrate was a strike, Congress decided that it was "obligatory for all proletarian organizations in all countries to stop working on May 1, wherever possible without negative consequences for the workers."

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