Split Breaks Tradition, No Beans on Marjan for May Day

Daniela Rogulj

May 1st, known as International Workers’ Day, Labor Day, and May Day, is celebrated today in many parts of the world. Labor Day is celebrated in the name of labor solidarity in the struggle for better working conditions. It is also marked to remember the bloody protests in Chicago on May 1, 1886, where workers fought against exploitation and sought an 8-hour work day and higher wages. Croatia joined the movement in 1890, and the first gathering was organized at Maksimir Park in Zagreb. Workers described their demands with the three 8s: eight hours of work, eight hours of rest and eight hours of cultured education.

In time, the struggle for workers’ rights retreated to the background, and May 1 today is no longer focused on protesting but is a work-free holiday with the tradition of beans and carnations. 

While the largest May Day celebration in Croatia will take place in the Croatian capital at Maksimir Park, where mayor Milan Bandić and associates will distribute about 60,000 servings of beans with sausages, the Dalmatian Capital will be bean-free, reports Dalmacija Danas on May 1, 2019. 

Namely, the traditional gathering at Marjan with free beans and socializing – which is a symbol of this holiday in Split – will break tradition this year. As the celebration has been organized by the Association of Independent Trade Unions of Croatia (SSSH) together with the City of Split, the trade unions have said that they are focused on the initiative “67 is too much” (“67 je previše”) and emphasized that they cannot be in two places at the same time.

Instead, three Trade Unions (Savez samostalnih sindikata Hrvatske (SSSH), Nezavisni hrvatski sindikati (NHS) and Matica hrvatskih sindikata (MHS), will collect signatures to call for a referendum on changes in retirement conditions in the places where Labor Day is traditionally marked. 

In Croatia, May 1 will be celebrated in various ways in the organization of cities, municipalities, associations or parties, and many citizens will spend this non-working day out in nature with friends and family. 

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