History of the Early May Bank Holiday
It became a public holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 1978. In Scotland, it had already been one of the original bank holidays since 1871 (In Scotland, Whit Monday, which is often celebrated in May, was not a holiday).
Britain has a long heritage of May Day celebrations dating back to pagan times that still have echoes in such customs as the Maypole.
However this holiday was brought in as a way of marking International Workers’ Day by the socialist government of the time.