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Monday, May 1, 2017

May Day

The first day of May was originally celebrated by pagans through out Europe. It was recognized as the first day of summer as well as the day of fertility. It was the right day to begin spring planting as well as have sexual intercourse. 

A maypole was erected for young women and men to dance around the ribbons as they looked to find a mate. Persecution of May Day began as early as the 1600s when the British Parliament banned its practices as immoral. After this the church took a different approach and changed May 1st to All Saints Day.

In 1884 the U.S. Federation of Organized Trade and Labor Unions passed a law that made May 1st 1886 an eight hour workday would be the legal workday in the U.S. The owners of the businesses refused. May 1st 1886 saw workers take to the streets in a general strike to force the ruling class to recognize the 8 hour working day. There was estimated an 350,000 workers that participated. This would be known as the Haymarket Riots May 3rd would see the riot turn deadly in Chicago Illinois. The police would open fire on the striking workers at the McCormick Reaper WOrks. Six workers would be killed and many other injured. This would not be the worst as more deaths and injuries would occur the next day. 

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