May 1st – Labor Day in Belgrade

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International Workers’ Day – or simply May 1st, Labor Day,  or May Day – is a state holiday in Serbia. It started as a day of workers, and today it is a popular day for picnics and spring getaways from the city.

History of May 1st

A May 1st celebration is a millennia-long and varied tradition. Historically, many festivals around the world were dedicated to the change of season, and almost all cultures have some kind of “arrival of spring” celebrations. May Day took on a new significance in the 19th century when an International Workers’ Day arose out of the labor movement for worker’s rights and an eight-hour workday. The workers proclaimed that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor from and after May 1, 1886.”  Thanks to them, it was adopted as a “golden standard” of the working class.

By time, May 1st became a time for raising important social questions. In addition, it allowed the opportunity for having a much-needed vacation and spend quality time with friends and family.

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Labor day in Belgrade and Serbia

In Serbia, May 1st is a non-working day, and most people are enjoying their time off work or school. However, today, the holiday lost its political meaning and “socialist” tone.

As a matter of fact, in Serbia, the climate in May is very nice. Traditionally, we like to mark May 1st with picnics in the countryside or parks, and outdoor barbecues. Most of Belgraders go to parks and other spots in nature, such as Ada Ciganlija. Places such as Avala and Kosmaj are easily reachable by car. If you don’t want to go far away from the city, they are certainly the perfect destinations for getaways from bustling Belgrade.

Many people also use this holiday season to travel outside the crowded cities and see some of our off-the-beaten-path destinations. Some people like to gather friends and have barbecues in spacious yards in a log cabin. On the other hand, some people like to have an active vacation and hit one of the numerous hiking trails in Serbia or explore mysterious abandoned places.

Where can you go this weekend?

If you want to spend a more active weekend outside Belgrade or in off-the-beaten places, we have some suggestions for you:

Whatever you chose to do today – we wish you to have plenty of fun. May is truly an awesome month to visit Serbia, and we welcome you with open hands.

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