- See: Mayday for the distress signal
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.
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:English May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen, and dancing around a Maypole.