May Day in Split

May Day, or Labor Day, is a public holiday in many countries worldwide. It usually occurs around May 1, but the date varies across countries. It is associated the start of spring as well as the celebration of workers

Many ancient customs associated with May Day come from the old Roman festival of flowers. These include gathering branches and flowers, choosing or crowning a May Queen and dancing around a bush, tree or decorated pole (the May Pole). The sports and festivities held on this day symbolize the rebirth of nature as well as human fertility. In Spain, a tall pine tree is used as a Maypole. It is decorated with ribbons, beads, and eggshells as people dance around the pole and sing May songs.

In recent years, particularly in socialist and Communist countries, May Day has become a labor festival honoring the military and industrial efforts of the country.

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The eight-hour movement to reduce the working day from 10 to eight hours began after the Civil War. It was a major aim of the National Labor Union, whose first congress met in 1866. By 1868 congress and six states passed an eight-hour legislation. In 1884 the National Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Assemblies decided to call for a general strike on May 1, 1886, to enforce demands for employers to observe the eight-hour day. In 1947, amidst the anti-Communist Cold War hysteria, the US Veterans of Foreign Wars renamed May 1 as “Loyalty Day” and a joint session of Congress later made the pronouncement official.

Celebrating May 1st in Split

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Arriving anywhere close to Split’s Marjan by car is an impossible mission. Citizens of Split leave their cars even several kilometres from the location of the main city celebration near the zoo for Labour Day.

The tradition of going to Marjan is being lost over the years. This and similar events are cause for people to gather anew, even rarely, and is nice to see them dancing, singing and smiling. Too bad it happens mostly one a year, on Labour Day.

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Thousands of citizens of Split come on top of Marjan Hill where „Klapa“ entertaines them. The motives that took Split’s citizens to Marjan last year were various:

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– I decided to take a walk. I am retired, so I suggested to my wife that we go to Marjan. I used to come up here with friends as a child. It is nice here – Ante, 57, said.

 

– I heard that free bowls of gnocchi are handed out here every year instead of bean stew, so I came to see that wonder. It has been a long time since I’ve seen so many people. I live on the other side of the city and I haven’t been on Majran for a long time. The air is clean, nature, why not – Jurica said.

 

– I should have worked today, but I changed shifts with a colleague and I will work her shift next Saturday when she has to go to a wedding. My husband and I made a terrible mistake when we tried to come to Marjan by car. In the end we left the car at home and walked to here. I have not tried the gnocchi because we were too late. I heard people waited for the gnocchi for several hours – nurse Anita, 54, said.

 

– Honestly, I came here to finally eat some gnocchi with sea food. I do not earn much, so I cannot afford such meals. But I must say that this year the number of portions dealt out lessened in relation to last year. Looks like this recession has really done its part – Ante, 48, said.

 

The tradition of going to Marjan is being lost over the years. This and similar events are cause for people to gather anew, even rarely, and is nice to see them dancing, singing and smiling. Too bad it happens mostly one a year, on Labour Day.

join us this year…

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