1st May, also known as May Day is International Labor Day. This is a public holiday in many countries worldwide, intending to honor labor and build the labor solidarity all over the world. It is also the festival of the working class and the working people, the day uniting the working class and oppressed peoples in the struggle for peace, national independence, democracy and social progress. Accordingly, May Day is considered to be one of the official public holidays in Vietnam.
In the struggle between capitalism and labor, working time was one of the most important issues directly affecting employee’s benefit. Shortly after the establishment of the International I in 1864, shortening the labor time was considered to be the prerequisite task of the proletariat. At the first Congress of the International I held in Geneva in 09/1866, fighting for 8 hour working day was considered as the urgent task. Slogans on day 8 hour working day earlier appeared in some factories in UK – the country owns the earliest developed industry. This claim gradually spread to other countries. The 8-hour working movement later had flourished in America since 1827 coupled with a flourish and development of trade union movement. In 1868, U.S. rulers forced to pass the legislation fixing 8 working hour day in offices and factories belonging to the Government.
Congress on the establishment of International II held on 14/07/1889 with representatives of the working class had passed an important Resolution. It took annual 1st May as the International Labor Day (or May Day as popular), the day of solidarity of the proletariat throughout the world. Implementing the Resolution, the first International Labor Day was held on the world scale in 1890. Then in 1920, under the approval of the V.I. Lenin, USSR (former) was the first country to allow labor to retire on International Labor Day. This initiative is gradually agreed by many other countries around the world.
In Vietnam, right from the establishment of Communist Party in 1930, Vietnam working class took annual 1st May as the culmination of the movement against colonial-imperialism in order to gain independence, freedom, democracy, and social and economic benefits.
In the period before August Revolution, the anniversary of International Labor Day in particular, and other Vietnam holidays in general was usually organized in a secret way under the form of flags or leaflets. In 1936, thanks to the victory of French Popular Front and Indochina Democratic Front, International Labor Day was first publicly held in Hanoi, attracting a large number of people to participate in. In particular, on 05/01/1938, a large demonstration including tens of thousands of people took place in Hanoi with the participation of 25 branches and sectors: railroad workers, printing workers, farmers, women, the elderly, writers, journalists...This was the biggest protest during the democratic movement (1936 - 1939), a strong demonstration of solidarity of the working people led by the Party. It also marked a significant progress in the art of organization and leadership of Communist Party.
After August Revolution 1945, President Ho Chi Minh signed an ordinance regulating employees and workers to be get salary on International Labor Day public holiday. Also from that day, it was regarded as one of the official Vietnam public holidays annually. On this annual occasion, many cultural and social activities vibrantly take place attracting a great number of the attendance of both domestic citizens and foreign tourists. All of locals nationwide also joyfully celebrate the event with excellent commemorative programs and outstanding artistic performances
During past years, International Labor Day has become a great event of the working class and working people in Vietnam. This is also the date of expressing solidarity of the working class and working people throughout the world, the struggle for the victory of peace, freedom, democracy and social progress.