May Day in Cuba is International Workers Day. Well, of course it’s International Workers Day, or Labor Day in a lot of places, but it’s especially celebrated in Cuba. And so today I’m sharing some of the photos from when we spent May Day in Havana a couple of years back.
When we were in Havana on May Day, we simply got up at 0430 and walked to the Plaza de La Revolucion and joined in. In regular (i.e. non pandemic years), you can arrange to go with a guide who will explain what’s happening and why, and help you negotiate the crowds (because they are BIG!). As that becomes available again, I’ll update this article with details. There were more than a million people joining the march to the statue of Jose Marti the year we where there. It’s quite the experience!
What is May Day in Cuba?
May Day is celebrated in many regions around the world. In 1889 this date was chosen by socialists and communists are the date for International Workers Day, or Labor Day to commemorate the Haymarket Riots of 1886 in Chicago and the struggle for an eight hour working day.
The Haymarket Affair, or Haymarket Incident was a peaceful rally in support of those striking for an eight hour work day. It began the day after police killed a worker and injured several others. Then an unknown person threw a bomb at the police as they were trying to disperse the rally. Seven police officers died, at least four civilians and many others were wounded. At the resultant trial, eight anarchists were convicted of conspiracy, despite only two of them being in the location at the time. Seven of them were sentenced to death. Of those four were hanged. The site of the incident is now a National Historic Landmark in Chicago and you can read more about it here.
May Day, or International Workers Day in Cuba is a National Holiday.