In India, Labour Day is a public holiday held on every 1 May.The holiday is tied to labour movements for communist and socialist political parties. Labour Day is known as “Uzhaipalar dhinam” in Tamil and was first celebrated in Madras, “Kamgar Din” in Hindi, “Karmikara Dinacharane” in Kannada,”Karmika Dinotsavam in Telugu, “Kamgar Divas” in Marathi, “Thozhilaali Dinam” in Malayalam and “Shromik Dibosh” in Bengali. Since Labour day is not a national holiday, Labour day is observed as public holiday at State Government’s discretion. Many parts especially in North Indian States it’s not a public holiday.
The first May Day celebration in India was organized in Madras (now Chennai) by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on 1 May 1923.This was also the first time the red flag was used in India. The party leader Singaravelu Chettiar made arrangements to celebrate May Day in two places in 1923. One meeting was held at the beach opposite to the Madras High Court; the other meeting was held at the Triplicane beach. The Hindu newspaper, published from Madras reported,
The Labour Kisan party has introduced May Day celebrations in Madras. Comrade Singaravelar presided over the meeting. A resolution was passed stating that the government should declare May Day as a holiday. The president of the party explained the non-violent principles of the party. There was a request for financial aid. It was emphasised that workers of the world must unite to achieve independence.
1 May is also celebrated as “Maharashtra Day” and “Gujarat Day” to mark the date in 1960, when the two western states attained statehood after the erstwhile Bombay State was divided on linguistic lines. Maharashtra Day is held at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai. Schools and offices in Maharashtra remain closed on 1 May. A similar parade is held to celebrate Gujarat Day in Gandhinagar.
Vaiko (Vai Gopalsamy), General Secretary of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, appealed to the then Prime Minister V. P. Singh to declare 1 May as a national holiday, to which the PM heeded and from then on it became a national holiday to celebrate International Labour Day.