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Celebrating International Workers’ Day: Uniting Globally Through Appreciation

As the calendar turns to May, people around the world prepare to celebrate International Workers’ Day. Also known as May Day, a day dedicated to honoring the achievements and contributions of workers globally. This annual event serves as a reminder of the importance of labor rights and the ongoing struggle for fair working conditions.

As with most international holidays, there’s some confusion around the specifics. Never fear! Keep reading to learn the history of May Day as well as tips on gift baskets for delivery worldwide.  

International Workers' Day - may 1

The History of International Workers’ Day

International Workers’ Day traces its origins to the labor union movement. Specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. The date was chosen to commemorate the Haymarket affair. This occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886, when a peaceful rally in support of workers led to a violent clash with police. The tragedy highlighted the critical need for reform in labor laws, making May Day a symbolic day for labor rights activists worldwide.

Why is May 1 Not Celebrated in Every Country?

While many countries recognize May 1st as a day to celebrate labor and workers, some do not. And many find themselves asking questions like: why is May 1 not celebrated in Canada? Reasons vary from historical contexts to the adoption of different dates for similar celebrations. Countries that do not observe International Workers’ Day on May 1 include:

  • United States and Canada: Both countries celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday of September. A tradition stemming from the history of their labor movement, which is distinct from that of the international community.
  • Australia: Also observes Labor Day but on different dates across its states and territories.
  • New Zealand: Marks Labor Day on the fourth Monday in October.


What is the Difference Between International Workers’ Day and Labor Day?

Although both days recognize the contributions of workers, their origins and modes of celebration differ. International Workers’ Day, on May 1st, has a more pronounced focus on labor movements and worker’s rights, particularly commemorating the historical struggles of workers. Labor Day, celebrated in countries like the United States on the first Monday of September, is more associated with celebrating the economic and social achievements of workers with parades, picnics, and a long weekend.

Each holiday stands as a reminder of the value of every worker, from the newest employee to the most seasoned CEO.

Celebrating both holidays in your office gives you twice the chance to recognize every employees hard work.

What Do You Say on International Workers’ Day in the Office?

Greeting colleagues with a simple “Happy International Workers’ Day” can foster a sense of camaraderie and appreciation within the workplace. It’s also an excellent opportunity for management to express gratitude towards their teams, perhaps through a thoughtful email or a short speech, acknowledging the hard work and dedication of the employees.

More than words, sending gifts for office employees can help express your thanks and appreciation.

How To Celebrate May Day in the Office

Celebrating May Day in the office can be both fun and meaningful. Here are a few ideas:

  • Host a Luncheon or Potluck: Encourage employees to bring dishes that represent their culture or family traditions, emphasizing the diversity and unity of the workforce.
  • Recognition Awards: Create a casual awards ceremony where employees receive recognition for their hard work and dedication throughout the year.
  • Educational Activities: Organize a session where the history of International Workers’ Day is discussed. Or screen documentaries related to labor movements around the world.
  • Decorations: Decorate the office with posters and banners that highlight significant labor movement events or quotes from notable labor leaders.
  • Gifts for Office Employees: Celebrate everyone in the office with a small token of your appreciation. From gift cards to gourmet gift baskets – make sure your gift to employees reflects their value to your team.


International Workers’ Day not only marks a day of rest from labor but also reflects on the past struggles and victories of the labor movement. Whether recognized on May 1 or another day, the essence of this celebration is to appreciate the tireless efforts of workers and to promote fair labor practices globally. As we continue into the future, this day serves as a reminder of the progress achieved and the ongoing journey toward equitable work conditions for all.

Whether you need to send gifts to Canada from the USA or anywhere else in the world, the Gift Baskets Overseas team has your back.

You’ve learned more about celebrating International Workers’ Day; now what?