Today, May 1, is a worldwide day of action for workers’ rights held every year. In Iceland, as in many countries, it is a public holiday.
Also called Labor Day in some countries, the international workers’ day was chosen to coincide with Mayday, the ancient European spring celebration that was already a public holiday in many countries.
Iceland held its first Workers’ Day rally in 1923 and the day has been an official public holiday every May 1 since 1966.
There is a march for improved workers’ rights in most towns and villages across Iceland today, and workers’ unions often organize other events such as barbecues, concerts and children’s activities.
Not everybody gets involved, of course, and to many people today is just a welcome day off work or school—and all the more so because this year May 1 falls next to a weekend.