French Polynesia, as a member of the French Community, observes Labour Day on 1 May the same as mainland France. The main emphasis of this day is to remember the workers’ rights movements of the past and to encourage people today to continue to fight for a safe and fair workplace.
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Many in French Polynesia head to the beaches on 1 May to swim, sun themselves, and engage in water sports. Labour Day is also a chance to spend time with family instead of always at work. And many visit friends and relatives they may not have seen for a while.
The origin of the holiday is the 4 May 1886 Haymarket Massacre during a labour protest in Chicago, USA. As the world industrialised in the mid to late 1800’s, the dismal working conditions in many factories led to a protest movement.
The Haymarket Massacre became a key moment in the movement, leading to the establishment of Labour Day, then called “International Workers Day”, to demand things like an 8-hour work day, safer working conditions, and increased pay.
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