The First of May – A Romanian Classic

Ok, so they celebrate May Day in a lot of places around the world, no big deal about it – just another spring holiday.

But things are just a little bit different here in Romania. The 1st of May (our May Day) is a pretty important holiday, probably the only fun thing reminiscent of the old communist regime. The 1st of May we celebrate Workers’ Day, and how else would we do that, than with a day off.

The First of May in Romania, Gabriela Simion
The First of May in Romania, Seaside Train Ride

It is a bank holiday, that takes over the whole weekend, and that usually means a short trip to the sea side. Eating, drinking and dancing on the beach about sums up the 1st of May for the average young person. You multiply this by at least three days, and you now know how Romanians traditionally spend their May bank holiday. I don’t think you’ll find one single Romanian who hasn’t done this at least once in his lifetime.

Railroad, The First of May in Romania, Gabriela Simion

Now, if you are past your youth days, the other way to go is camping in the mountains – provided you have good weather, and you find a nice quiet spot. Usually all camping areas become very crowded around this holiday, and it is know that these happy campers are quite noisy, especially after having had a few beers.

Gara de Nord, The First of May in Romania, Gabriela Simion

In short, to prepare for our International Workers’ Day you should come with an empty stomach, be prepared to drink large quantities of beer, sing out loud, dance, and be able to do this in a cloud of smoke coming from all the barbecues that are grilling „mici” (little ones) – our traditional 1st of May meat delight.

Trains, The First of May in Romania, Gabriela Simion

So, cheers and happy International Workers’ Day!

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