Everyday Life in Hungary

Hungary Labour Day/May Day

May 1st is an important day for Hungarians. Not only is it Labour Day but it is also the anniversary of joining the European Union in 2004.

Labour day in Hungary is the celebration of summer arriving and also to show appreciation to all the working class people of the country.

This public holiday is also known as International Workers Day or May Day and is celebrated in over 80 countries.

The first May Day celebrations were on May 1st 1890, and is celebrated in most countries around the world. In the United Kingdom and Ireland the bank holiday isn’t fixed on May 1st but instead is observed on the first Monday of May.

May 1st is also a pagan holiday in many parts of Europe. Its roots as a holiday stretch back to the Gaelic Beltane. Beltane or Beltain is the Gaelic May Day festival. Most commonly it is held on 1st May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man It is considered to be the last day of winter and when the beginning of summer is celebrated.

Traditional English May Day celebrations include Morris Dancing, crowning a May Queen, and dancing around a Maypole.

Image by imordaf from Pixabay

Celebrations in Hungary

Image by RGY23 from Pixabay

In Hungary people will spend the day relaxing with family and friends. Some still attend a union or workers parade event to celebrate the advancement of workers rights.

In usual circumstances (pre-virus) it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

The first day of May sees the village tradition of maypole mounting and May-basket giving, which still plays a significant role in the celebrations. Rural villages of Hungary still carry out these ancient rituals today. I found a beautiful description of traditional May Day celebrations and how Hungarians still celebrate these customs here:

Our village like many others in rural Hungary decorate trees with ribbons to celebrate Labour/May Day.

How do you celebrate Labour/May Day in your country?