Also celebrated in over 80 other countries, International Labor Day is a public holiday in Vietnam.
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On International Labor Day, people across Vietnam celebrate the progress of workers’ rights by taking the day off from their regular jobs. Instead, Vietnamese people spend time with their closest friends and family members. In Vietnam, International Labor Day is called Ngay Quoc te Lao Dong. International Labor Day is also a celebration of spring. Because of this, people spend a lot of time outside if the weather is pleasant.
History of International Labor Day
To understand International Labor Day in Vietnam, you must first go back to the year 1886 in Chicago, United States. After being overworked and underpaid, Chicago factory workers began a strike to increase their wages and reduce the amount of time they were required to work each day. At the time, Chicago factory workers were working beyond eight hours per day with low pay. After the entire factory in Haymarket began to strike, unions in cities like Baltimore and New York began to do the same.
In an act of unity, all of the workers that participated in the strike demanded that their work requirements be changed. Police and counter-protesters responded by trying to end the strike with violence. Instead, this amplified the protesters’ efforts and more people joined the movement. Eventually, the government and employers gave in to the demands. However, this victory did not come without its costs. By the time the demands of the protesters were reached, hundreds of protesters had been killed. To memorialize the efforts of these laborers and their efforts to obtain fair work standards, the International Labor Day was created and recognized by nations across the world. Vietnam began to recognize International Labor Day as a holiday in 1913. In 1946, the holiday was assigned to the first of May and recognized a public holiday.
Many people use International Labor Day in Vietnam as a reason to travel. This is a time for Vietnamese people to visit their family members in their hometowns after the busy months between the first of May and the lunar New Year. This holiday keeps families together, which is an important aspect of Vietnamese culture. Because International Labor Day falls on the first of May, it is often joined with the Reunification Day holiday on the 30th of April.
If both of these holidays fall on a weekend, then both the Monday and Tuesday of the following week will be treated as public holidays. This four-day weekend offers people the opportunity to enjoy things that they do not normally have time for. Instead of traveling to their hometowns, some Vietnamese towns will head to the beach or countryside with their friends and family to enjoy some relaxation. Some of the favorite locations for vacation during the Reunification/ International Labor day holidays are:
- Hoi An: A former port city that is nearby a well-preserved ancient city.
- Mui Ne: An area with popular beaches and opportunities for water sports.
- Phu Quoc: An upscale island resort area with beaches and opportunities for water sports and other outdoor activities.
- Ha Long Bay: A rocky bay with opportunities for sea kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, and boat tours.
During the International Labor Day holiday, both travelers and Vietnamese people can visit the major cities in Vietnam. Because most of the city’s residents are at their hometown or vacation areas, large cities are quieter and less busy than usual. This time can be used as an opportunity to enjoy major attractions and city hotspots without maneuvering through crowds.
By going to Hanoi, you can experience the capital of Vietnam and a range of historical exhibits about the war, French colonization, and more. People who go to Ho Chi Minh City can shop, eat, and go to museums. Many of the museums in Ho Chi Minh City specialize in Vietnam under French rule and war history. There are also several art exhibits. The small town of Sapa may also be a worthy place to visit, but people looking to enjoy the International Labor Day holiday should be wary of tourists. For those people that are looking to avoid crowds, the city of Da Nang should not be an option. While many workers in Da Nang will return to their homes during the public holiday, the city will be filled with vacationers due to numerous nearby beaches and resorts.
Those people that decide to travel during International Labor Day should take note that transportation costs are inflated throughout the holiday. Buses, trains, and other means of public transportation are often at maximum capacity and require long waits. Travel experts recommend that people who wish to travel within or from Vietnam during the Reunification Day/ International Labor Day holidays should book transportation and lodging well before the beginning of the holiday.
International Labor Day in Vietnam is a holiday that recognizes workers in Vietnam and across the entire globe. It is a time to celebrate family bonds, friendship, and warmer weather.