Labour Day in Bangkok – May 1

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Published: May 1, 2016

Known variously around the world as May Day or Labour Day, 01 May is celebrated each year in Thailand as National Labour Day and is a public holiday taken by private companies and banks, though not usually by government officials. Public sector workers tend to instead observe the Royal Ploughing Ceremony in mid-May, which in turn isn’t normally celebrated by private companies or banks.

Labour Day, or May Day, celebrates farmers and other workers in Thailand - photo by Prachanart Viriyaraks

Public celebrations of Labour Day are not often seen in Bangkok or elsewhere in Thailand – not least because it is so close to the more publicly celebrated Coronation Day on 05 May. Though there have been May Day rallies in Bangkok in the past, the emphasis nowadays is more on employees taking a day’s rest and spending time with their families. It is common for people to make a long weekend of the holiday (in 2016 it falls on a Sunday, and so is marked with a substitute on Monday 02 May), or even to combine it with the public holiday for Coronation Day and so take an extended break.

Tourist-oriented businesses like shopping centres, including Siam Paragon, remain open on the Labour Day public holiday - photo by Jason D'Great

May Day is observed as a public holiday in around 80 countries around the world to mark the international labour movement. However, in Thailand you can generally expect tourist-oriented businesses – particularly those in shopping centres – to remain open for service.

Have you celebrated May Day in Thailand or elsewhere in the world? Let us know in the comments!

Photos by Prachanart Viriyaraks and Jason D’Great.

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