Labor Day is a national holiday in Mexico on 1 May each year to celebrate workers and the labor movement’s fight for workers’ rights and conditions. It is also known as International Workers Day.
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Labor Day was first formally celebrated in Mexico on 1 May 1923, although the new Mexican constitution of 1917 had already secured many reforms to benefit workers. The constitution laid out a significant amount of social reforms and human rights changes that affected laborers across Mexico, and followed a period of time in nineteenth century Mexico where laborers were forced to work in very poor conditions.
A key moment in the movement for better workers’ rights was the Cananea Strike of June 1906, an event also called the Cananea Riot. The town of Cananea in Sonora was full of miners who fought for their rights and were eventually made to return to work without any changes to their situation. However, the event caused a chain reaction of other unrest throughout Mexico during the end of President Porfirio Diaz’s term. This unrest was the precursor to the 1910 Mexican Revolution.
The armed conflict that came out of this unrest is frequently considered one of the most significant moments in Mexican sociopolitical history. The Constitution of 1917 is testimony to the success of the new reforms. To celebrate these changes and this movement, the Labor Day holiday was created in Mexico, beginning in 1923. It serves as a time to commemorate the struggles Mexican workers faced.