Celebrating the Workforce on May Day in Australia

image001Are you wondering how the eight hours/day work schedule started or the May Day came about? The workforce in Australia has the Melbourne Anarchist Club to thank for those. This is the political and social movement that was formed when the Federation of Organized Trade and Labour Unions of the United States and Canada launched the eight hours/day work schedule on May 1, 1886.

The Rest Is History

In the next two years, member anarchists commemorate the day as the introduction of the eight-hour day. In 1890, well-known Melbourne anarchist Chummy Fleming carried red banners that read “8 hours labour or less” and “free railways”. In the year that followed, the event was held in Ipswich and Barcoldine to coincide with the Shearers Strike. In 1892, the first public May Day celebration started with a march from the Burke and Wills monument to the Yarra Bank where Chummy Fleming chaired a meeting.

Since then, May Day celebrations were annually held, except from 1900 to 1927. Eventually, the day was proclaimed as a holiday in all Australian states; it was called Labor Day. After World War II, the Labor Party moved the celebrations from May to the second Monday in March and decided to abandon the marches. Fremantle stepped in to restore the traditional May 1 event. Since 1952, May Day is considered one of Australia’s most colorful demonstrations of working class unity.

Planning a May Day Shindig

May Day is a yearly tradition for union members, but the public joins in celebrating the day as well as what it stands for. Aside from giving tribute to people who toil to earn a living, May Day is a great chance to spend a long, lazy and lovely weekend with family, friends, and neighbors.

What can be a better way to celebrate the holiday than to host a party? May Day can be a busy day for people to grab special offers in most shops, cinemas, restaurants and bars so to ensure your entire guest list makes it to your bash, send out the “Save the Date” invites early. Don’t forget to include the theme of the party so guests can plan how to put together a matching outfit. When it comes to themes and decors, a visit to https://www.partiesonline.com.au/ can provide you with various ideas for your May Day party, including the following:

image003Working Pioneers. The anarchists pioneered May Day, so use their movement as inspiration for your party. Decorate the place using cowboy, country and western party supplies to commemorate the day when the strikers had to mount on horseback to air their petition. Tape jointed horse cut outs on the wall to bring back memories of the event in Ipswich and Barcoldine. Host Labor Day games like horseshoe throwing, egg toss, and trivia games that can be played by guests of all ages. A cowboy party is the perfect theme to serve BBQ baby back ribs and chicken legs, cowboy caviar, tortilla chips, chipotle sweet potatoes, carrot cake, and sagebrush sarsaparilla.

Foam Party: Let everyone’s hair down by organizing a foam party to set your event apart from other parties in town. It is also a great way to welcome the onset of winter. A foam party contains most of the same elements like food, drinks, music, and games. When it comes to decoration, all you need are soap bubbles, which as you can imagine makes the party bubbling with fun.

Obviously, the first thing to get is a foam machine that you can rent. It is also possible to make your own foam, but it is certainly easier and less image005messy with a machine. The cold air may prompt you to move the party indoor so choose a location large enough to accommodate the number of your guests. It’s a good idea to protect the surfaces with large disposable table covers. Use disposable party wares and shatterproof polycarbonate drinkware to prevent breakages as foam party crowd can be a bit rowdy. Nevertheless, the bouncy partygoers can be appeased with street food buffet consisting of sausage sizzle, kebabs, souvlakis, and pie floater. Fill the bar with foamy beers, or prepare fancy fruity drinks with whipped cream to match the frothy theme.

Hard Hat Party: Assemble a crew of hardhat wearing team ready to complete the exciting challenges in your May Day party. In the invites, ask your guests to come dressed in hard hats, safety vests, goggles, and other public and emergency costumes for them to spend the day looking like real professionals in various careers. Facilitate simple construction scenarios to be solved by your uniformed guests. Line the party area with yellow crepe to recreate the effects of a room under construction. Place several construction signs like Danger, Working Men Ahead, and Soon to Rise to energize guests more.

image007Keep the workers busy honing their building skills as teams competing to construct impressive structures using sets of blocks. Let them burn off their energy navigating construction obstacle courses made out of construction related materials like tires, construction signs, and orange cones. Surely, you’ll have a famished crew to feed. Set up a construction site mobile buffet with Tow Mater life size cut out at the head of the table for guests to create their own pasta and sandwich meal. For dessert, decorate cookies with white frosting and place different tool-shaped soft candies on top.

The goal of May Day has been achieved, but the day continues to be a reminder of how the labor force fought to have decent working conditions. The struggles have been won and the working class enjoys better days. May Day is indeed a day that calls for a celebration.

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