A large number of countries worldwide commemorates the 1st of May as International Workers’ Day. It all began in the USA state of Chicago in 1886 when the workers, dissatisfied with their work conditions, organized a strike demanding that their work hours be cut down from 16 to 8, effective as of May 1. There were several hundred thousand participants and the strike was ended several days later with a tragic event known as Haymarket Affair where several persons lost their lives. The workers in the USA got their rights only in 1916 when the decision was integrated in the law.
This event affected the entire world and was especially appreciated among communist and socialist movements. At the first conference of the Second International, the congress of socialist parties, held on 14 July 1889 in Paris it was decided that the 1st of May be commemorated as an International Workers’ Day, so the tradition began in 1890. However, it is interesting that in the USA this holiday, known as Labor Day, is celebrated on the first Monday in September.
In Montenegro and the countries of the region the Workers’ Day was best commemorated during socialism and has been celebrated as national holiday ever since. The tradition was to celebrate it by getting up early and visiting the nature along with family and friends. This custom was called “uranak” and was probably taken from traditional celebration of Saint George’s Day marked on 6 May according to Orthodox calendar. It was also common to go out in nature a day earlier and spend a night around a bonfire, singing, dancing and barbecuing.
Today this tradition has been quite forgotten, although “uranak” might be of greater importance than ever. Modern lifestyle, especially since the beginning of coronavirus pandemics, is loudly summoning us to return to nature. This year for the holidays, we propose a visit to one of our wonderful national parks.