Labor Day in Russia and Ukraine

May is traditionally rich in holidays in Russia and Ukraine. The month kicks off with a celebration of the Labor day on May 1, which is closely followed by the Victory Day on May 9. Almost everyone in the country receives a few days off for each one of the celebration, so many establishments are closed for the whole first decade of May.

May 1 is celebrated in 142 countries around the world and it comes under many names – Labor day, Spring day, Celebration of spring and labor… The celebration has a long history, as it was introduced back in 1886, when various socialist, communist and anarchist establishments in Canada and USA organized huge manifestations that rolled all over the countries. The protests were forcibly subdued by police and a number of people died in the process, a fact that led to further escalation of discontent among the working class. In the following years, similar demonstrations spread all over the world and May 1 was officially declared to be the day of solidarity among the work class of all countries.

While this holiday has this great history, today most people treat it simply as a chance to enjoy the company of friends and family in a relaxed environment. Russia and Ukraine are known for their cold winters and May is the time when spring really sets in. Russian girls and boys use this chance to get out and spend some time outside, participating in picnics and other outdoor activities. Organizing picnics around this celebration is easy, since the whole country gets almost ten days off work during this period and there is plenty of time to see everyone you might have been neglecting throughout winter.

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