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The May 1 holiday has ancient pagan roots and is not accidentally called labor Day.

Three thousand years ago the inhabitants of Ancient Italy worshipped the goddess Maya — the patroness of earth and fertility. In honor of the goddess the last month of spring was named may, and on the first day of this month, arranged the celebration, to the work spent in the spring — plowing the land and sowing is not in vain. Over the past Millennium, the customs of ancient Italy has spread in many countries which staged the first day of may outdoor festivities and processions. As the Christianization of Europe, the Church has increasingly struggled with this pagan tradition, which was almost entirely liquidated by the end of the XVIII century.

May day in a new form was revived in the late XIX century in the labor movement, nominated as one of the main requirements of the introduction of the eight-hour working day. May 1, 1886, socialist and Communist organizations in the US and Canada staged a series of rallies and demonstrations. During the crackdown in Chicago killed six demonstrators. In the ensuing mass protests against the brutal actions of the police, the bomb blast killed eight police officers. On charges of organizing the explosion, four workers were sentenced to death. In 1889 the Paris Congress of II international, in memory of executed declared may 1 international workers ' Day and invited every year to celebrate his demonstration with the social demands. In Russia may 1 was first celebrated in 1890 and was called the «Day of international solidarity of workers». The following year in St. Petersburg held the first feast — an illegal meeting of workers, usually arranged in the afternoon of 1 May. And since 1897 the may become political in nature and accompanied by mass demonstrations.

In 1917, may 1 was first celebrated openly. In all cities of the country millions of workers took to the streets with slogans of the Communist party «All power to the Soviets», «Down with the capitalist Ministers». And the first parade of the red army took place in 1918 on Khodynka field.

«Mass celebration» on may 1 began in the Soviet Union. And it really was a holiday for workers who received an additional two days off. May celebrations were held across the country. In this day people amicably went on demonstration with banners and flowers. A mandatory attribute of may day was a festive table. For a long time, may day was celebrated as the Day of international solidarity of workers of all countries. Over time, the holiday has lost its political character. On 1 may 1990 the Soviet leadership and the Communist party took the podium, for the last time to take part in the official may day demonstration. Since 1992, popularly favorite holiday was renamed the Holiday of spring and labor. This day, celebrated part of the world community as the Day of solidarity of workers in Russia is used for political action by trade unions, parties and movements of various kinds — all of them are under their slogans.

Used materials from the website http://www.russian-holidays.ru