The island commonwealth of Puerto Rico officially observes Labour Day on the first Monday of September along with the USA. This is a different date to most other countries that observe Labour Day, also known as May Day, on 1 May.
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Labour Day has been a US holiday since 1894 and became a holiday in Puerto Rico once it fell under US control after the Spanish American War. As in the US, people head to the beach for swimming, sunning, and water sports as this is the unofficial end of summer.
Many also go camping or have picnics or barbecues. As a day off work, Labour Day is a great opportunity to explore Old San Juan or any of Puerto Rico’s beautiful parks and nature reserves.
The origin of this worldwide 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.