Labour Day in Croatia

Labour day is celebrated all around the world on the 1st of May and it is a day where everybody gets to unwind, gather their family or friends and have a fun day, usually somewhere out in nature with a good grill and a nice, quality time together.

This holiday is celebrated in remembrance of the great worker protests held in Chicago, US, on the 1st of May 1886. Why were these workers protesting, you might ask? Well, when you’re working upwards of 18 hours a day and you’re getting paid peanuts for your hard labour, wouldn’t you be all riled up as well? This was during the industrial revolution, and while humanity was reaching never before seen advancements in technology and insane increases in productivity, worker’s rights were nowhere near of the same today. Even children weren’t spared of this, and employees in general were viewed as disposable fodder hardly worth the measly coin spent on them.

Of course, workers all around the world did not want to take this kind of treatment, and the entire World saw groups protesting on the streets, sabotaging equipment and asking for fair rights. The biggest of these uprisings happened in Chicago in 1886., which makes sense as the US had the fastest rising industry, and as such was exploiting workers the most. Around 40 000 workers took to the streets and their demands were simple: 8 hours for work, 8 hours for resting, and 8 hours for cultural education, which included activities such as attending plays, going to concerts, visiting museums etc. This protest did not end peacefully, as the authorities wanted to snuff the uprising as quickly as possible. This resulted in 6 workers dead and 50 wounded. Many of the protesters were arrested, and the leaders of the strike were put to trial. Sadly, 5 of them were sentenced to death, and 3 were imprisoned for a very long time.

Three years later, on the first congress of the Second International, which was an organization of socialist and labour parties formed in Paris in 1889., it was decided that protests would be held every year on the 1st of May until the working class weins the right to have a decent life. It wasn’t until several decades later that these goals were achieved.

Croatia also had a fair share of worker uprisings whit the first one in 1890. With the same demands as the rest of the World. This was encapsulated in the motto: “We want to work, but we want live as human beings!”.

Labour day was officially pronounced a national holiday in Croatia in 1996. And ever since then, every 1st of May people take time out of their busy lives to rest and remember all the sacrifices made all that time ago.

So how exactly do we celebrate Labour day in Croatia? Well, as stated at the start of this post, most people opt to gather their family and set off for a nice nature spot for a picnic. Some organize get togethers in their yards and others choose to gather in the social hubs of their respective cities. As a sort of a tradition, each city in Croatia prepares large vats of bean stew which they then hand out to the people for free, which is a gesture especially appreciated by the homeless and those of low income. There are carnival rides for kids and traditional folk groups entertaining the people with their songs and dances. With red carnation flowers everywhere, a symbol of the Chicago workers sacrifice, and a day of joy and fun, labour day is truly a thing to celebrate.