May Day in Sri Lanka

May Day, also known as International Workers' Day, is a significant event in Sri Lanka. It is a public holiday dedicated to celebrating the achievements of workers and promoting their rights. In Sri Lanka, it is locally known as "Kamkaru Dinaya" (කම්කරු දිනය) in the Sinhalese language and "Tholilalar Thinam" (தொழிலாளர் தினம்) in Tamil.

May Day is celebrated annually on the 1st of May in Sri Lanka, as in many other countries around the world.


The origin of May Day celebrations in Sri Lanka dates back to the early 20th century. The first May Day rally was held in 1927 by the Labor Leader A.E. Goonesinha, who was instrumental in organizing the working class in the country. The event was organized by the Ceylon Labour Union, which was founded in 1922 by Goonesinha. Since then, May Day has been celebrated every year in Sri Lanka with various political parties and labor unions organizing rallies and demonstrations to champion workers' rights and promote their welfare.


National customs for May Day in Sri Lanka

May Day in Sri Lanka is marked by various customs and traditions that celebrate the hard work and dedication of the working class. One of the main customs is the organization of rallies and demonstrations by different political parties and labor unions. These events are held in various parts of the country and often include speeches by prominent political figures and union leaders who address the issues faced by workers and call for better working conditions and fair wages.

In addition to rallies and demonstrations, various cultural programs and performances are organized to entertain and educate the public about the importance of workers' rights. These may include traditional dances, music, and drama performances that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

Local customs for May Day in Sri Lanka

While May Day customs and traditions are primarily focused on workers' rights and welfare, some regions in Sri Lanka also observe their own unique local customs. For instance, in certain rural areas, people may organize traditional games and sports events, such as bullock cart races and pillow fights, to celebrate the day.

Another local custom observed in some parts of Sri Lanka is the preparation and sharing of a special dish called "Konda Kavum." This is a traditional Sri Lankan sweet made from rice flour and treacle, which is often prepared by the women in the community and shared with neighbors and friends as a gesture of solidarity and unity.


May Day in Sri Lanka is a significant event that celebrates the achievements and hard work of the country's working class. It is a day dedicated to promoting workers' rights and welfare, with various customs and traditions observed nationwide. From political rallies and cultural performances to traditional games and unique local customs, May Day in Sri Lanka is a vibrant and important celebration that highlights the essential role of workers in the nation's progress and development.