|A turn of the century celebration|
The first of May is also a day to recognize a completely different segment of society--the worker. Around the globe today is also International Worker's Day, a day when workers and worker's rights around the world are recognized. (Labor Day, recognized on the first Monday of September in the United States, is the American equivalent of this international day). International Worker's Day first commemorated Chicago's Haymarket Affair where a demonstration by workers demanding shorter work days was disrupted by police with four protesters subsequently being killed. Over time International Workers Day, or May Day as it is also called, became synonymous with rights for the ordinary worker. This day has long been a focal point for demonstrations by socialist, communist, and anarchist groups with such countries as the People's Republic of China, the former Soviet Union, Cuba, and North Korea adding military parades to the day's agendas. Through the persistence of thousands of workers, today is a legal holiday in many countries around the globe. It is here in Albania and as such our Embassy is closed (for the later reason and not the former). So today is a day of celebrations and recognition ceremonies around the world. Some may be traditional pagan ceremonies with music, dancing, and May Poles while others may be demonstrations demanding increased rights for workers and parades celebrating workers. Two very different ways of celebrating for a single day but equally important to those who recognize them.