Eric Hobsbawm (1984, p.  76) claimed that the international May Day ‘is perhaps the most ambitious of labour rituals’. It dates back to a resolution passed at the founding congress of the Second International in Paris in 1889, which called for an international demonstration to be organized on 1 May 1890 demanding the eight-hour workday and other measures for the protection of workers (see Chapter 2). The first international May Day demonstrations in 1890 were widely celebrated across Europe and were held in Stockholm, Madrid, London, Brussels, Geneva and other capitals and cities (Foner 1986, p. 45). The remarkable and often unexpected success of these demonstrations led to the rapid rise and institutionalization of May Day in Western Europe. At least to a certain extent this evolution was the result of popular enthusiasm and pressure from below overcoming the cautious stance of working-class parties and unions, and can be described as unintended and unplanned (Hobsbawm 1991, p. 106).