May Day is celebrated around the world this Monday, as well as in Serbia, where it is marked as Labor Day – a two-day non working state holiday.
May 1 is marked to commemorate the deadline given in 1886 by workers in Chicago – who were striking and protesting for the eight-hour workday – to their employers and the government to meet their demands.
But repression followed in response, resulting in clashes with the police and deaths and injuries on both sides.
Seven trade union activists were sentenced to death.
The Second Congress of the Workers’ International decided that starting in 1890, mass events, demonstrations and strikes would be held each May 1 around the world as a form of class struggle.
By the late 19th and early 20th century, this gained mass proportions.
In Serbia, May Day was marked for the first time in 1893, with protest rallies in Belgrade.
May Day celebrations in rural areas of the country first started in the village Dubona, near Mladenovac, two years later.
In Serbia and in the region, it eventually became a custom to spend the early hours on May 1 outdoors, picnicking.
During the long post-WW2 period, the holiday was marked by the greatest number of people in socialist countries, when parades and similar events were held.
In recent years, May Day rallies have once again gained the form of protest gatherings of dissatisfied workers, whose situation, due to the economic crisis, has become increasingly difficult.