No matter what you call it – Labor Day, May Day, International Workers Day, Primero de Mayo – Hungarians still celebrate it with gusto and a day off from their daily toil.
Yes, it’s that time of the year again: May Day. That special day in the year when most European countries declare a national holiday to celebrate the other 364 days a year when most everyone goes to work. Throughout Europe, Labor Day, or International Workers Day, is celebrated on May 1st.
In past years this holiday was marked by parades, political rallies and speeches to celebrate workers and labor unions. Today in Hungary it means a day off (i.e., most businesses will be closed) and a celebration of spring with concerts, picnics and lots of fun and outdoor entertainment all over the country.
Celebrating Labor day in Hungary
Many Hungarian towns raise May Poles and stage festivals with various themes to honor this holiday. As with other holidays, whenever 1 May falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the holiday officially becomes a long weekend, when families take off to travel and hotels are full. Left-wing parties also hold public rallies commemorating Labor Day. NOTE: the first of May (Tuesday) is an official bank holiday in Hungary: shops, markets and most museums will be closed. Thermal baths will be open with Sunday opening hours and public transport will operate according to Sunday/holiday schedules and pricing.
May Day in Budapest used to be a major holiday of the former regime, including parades followed by beer and frankfurters in the City Park. Today, political parties still use Labor Day to advertise their programs and recruit followers; fortunately, the first of May is now a family day with a range of festivals and programs in Budapest and other towns of Hungary.
Budapest May day Programmes
The Race Car Show will run from Erzsébet Square to Andrássy Avenue to Oktogon on May 1, this time without an air show.
There will also be May Day festivities in Városliget (City Park) between 28 April and 1 May and in Tabán. City Park offers a variety of musical entertainment, cooking competitions, a craft fair and programmes for kids. Tabán will host live concerts from early afternoon till late night.