The International Labor Day on May 1st is called Lao Dong Jie (劳动节) in China. The days surrounding May 1 are heavy travel days – transportation, accommodation, and recreation outlets will be crammed with travelers for the annual Spring holiday.

Labor Day is celebrated on various days in different countries, such as the fourth Monday in October in New Zealand, the first Monday in September in Canada and in the US (where labor day originated when the 1884 convention of the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions proclaimed that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from May 1, 1886.”), and May 23 in Jamaica. says “May Day dates back to pagan cults that worshipped trees and other symbols of nature. Traditionally, May Day is characterized by the gathering of flowers and the fertility rite of dancing around the maypole.”

Even though Labor Day actually comes from events surrounding a worker’s strike in Chicago, there aren’t any activities in the US on May 1. Here in China, May Day is one of the year’s major holidays. Before the May Day holiday was shortened to three days, it was known as a golden week from May 1 to May 7, a holiday of shopping, travel, and hanging out. Today the vacation only lasts for about three days, but it is still popular to go out and participate in all kinds of outdoor activities.

The word “labor” translates as “lao dong” in Chinese, thus Labor Day is called Lao Dong Jie. The holiday is often referred to as “wu yi” – meaning “five one” or May 1. Happy Lao Dong Jie ! Workers of the world: recreate!

Benefits of May Day Holiday:
Shops, supermarkets, and malls offer customers a real bargain. Workers can get some extra money if they keep working on holidays, such as double or triple pay. Students can earn more by doing different kinds of part time jobs during this period. Families get together and go to parks or amusement parks, just to enjoy the beauty of quality family time. Children can stop studying for a while to have fun with their friends or siblings. One big aspect of the holiday is the promotion of consumption in the domestic market, which helps relieve some economic pressure for the nation for a little bit.

Disadvantages of May Day Holiday:
Since people prefer to go out on the May Day holiday, severe traffic jams happen everywhere. Every road is crowded with cars and people. It can take hours to complete a journey that on average days takes 30 minutes or less. Due to the heavy crush on the roads and rails, the number of traffic accidents, theft, or other form of crimes increases. Take care when traveling on May Day.

Relevant Links:
International Labour Day on Wikipedia

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