Saturday, 30 April 2016

1st of May - Labour Day!

Dearest working class heroes,

A very well known celebration, especially for the communist countries, is remembered tomorrow: 1st of May - the International Workers Day or Labour Day. International Workers' Day is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement, anarchists, socialists, and communists and occurs every year on May Day, 1 May, an ancient European spring holiday. The date was chosen for International Workers' Day by the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886. This day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. (source)
Typical 1st May poster - Romania

Being a traditional European spring celebration, May Day is a national public holiday in many countries, but in only some of those countries is it celebrated specifically as "Labour Day" or "International Workers' Day". Some countries celebrate a Labour Day on other dates significant to them, such as the United States, which celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September. In Poland, since the fall of communism, 1 May is officially celebrated as May Day, but is commonly called Labour Day. In Romania, 1 May, known as the International Labour Day (Ziua internațională a muncii), the International Workers' Day (Ziua internațională a oamenilor muncii), or simply 1/First of May (1/Întâi Mai), is an official public holiday. 
Typical 1st May poster - Poland
During the communist regime, like in all former Eastern Bloc countries, the day was marked by large state-organised parades in most towns and cities, to which many workers were de facto required to participate. After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, 1 May continues to be an official public holiday, but without any state organised events or parades. Most people celebrate together with friends and family, organising picnics and barbecues. It is also the first day of the year when people, especially those from the southeastern part of the country including the capital Bucharest, go to spend the day in one of the Romanian Black Sea resorts.
Typical 1st May march - Romania - you can see many photos of N. Ceausescu
In Romania, Labour Day was celebrated for the first time in 1890, and during the communist times this celebration was marked - as in other communist countries - by manifestations and marches glorifying the Communist Party and the benefits that communism brings to the people. After the revolution in December 1989, for several years, the 1st of May was no longer celebrated by propagandist manifestation, but rather by social and cultural events in the open air. In the communist times it was a mandatory social gathering, very well rehearsed, with thousands and thousands of people singing patriotic songs and carrying huge pancards with logos and wishes and of course our brave leaders face. Nowdays everyone spits on those ideas and on those memories and youngsters and older people alike see 1st of May as time off from the busy life/job they have. You will see people flocking away from the cities, gathering for a barbecue and (for the lucky ones?) heading toward the Black Sea resorts. TIPS & TRICKS: If you are in Romania now, make sure you eat the traditional mititei (minced meat, well spiced and done on the grill - to be eaten with mustard)!
Typical 1st May poster - Poland
For the Polish people, the 1st of May is just the beginning of a series of national event - try not to get them confused, as I will explain them backwards ;) May 3rd is the Constitution Day - the very first European constitution and the 2nd one worldwide! 3rd of July is also a religious feast. This day is called the Day of St. Mary a Queen of Poland. This feast was established by a pope on a request of Polish bishops after regaining the freedom by Poland at the end of World War I. The religious holiday of the 3rd of June is a consequence of the political anniversary of the Constitution. 2nd of May is the Poland's Flag Day - The Flag Day was established by a decree on February 20, 2004 when the change in Polish coat of arm, shade of colors of the flags and Polish anthem were introduced. This day is also called a day of White Eagle. Polish Eagle constitutes a Polish coat or arm. The May 1st was established as the communistic Labor Day holiday (International Workers' Day). And there you have it! 3 days in a row, of celebration for the Polish people! 

How about you? Do you come from a country that celebrates Labour Day / International Workers Day? What are the differences that you could see develop in time? I would love to hear from you - tell me your story! :)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug Working Woman