I know  it is told, the first Labour’s Day  was inspired by an incident in Chicago, so actually the origins of this „feast” are from US, but  when I was younger, there was no question that the big news story of every 1st May  was to show the Soviet May Day military parades with ICBM’s (for those under 35, they were the nuclear tipped missiles aimed at every American city) towed through Red Square, tanks, and hordes of marching squares of Communist soldiers. There were hammer and sickled red banners everywhere and huge head shots of Lenin and Stalin. May Day is a “Workers’ Holiday” and communism is all about a despotic few acting in the name of the the little workers who would otherwise be crushed by the evil forces of capitalism.

1st May was celebrated together with the „Big Brother” Sovietunion in all Eastern Bloc countries. Also in Hungary official May Day celebrations were held in every town and city, during which party leaders greeted the crowds. Workers carried banners with political slogans and many companies decorated their company cars. But…while in other countries the biggest circus of that time was taken bloody seriously, Hungarians found a way to satisfy everyone: to attract the biggest possible mass of people to be shown on TV not only in the „capitalist” press, but also for the Big Brother (demonstrating our „unshrinking solidarity” to the system) free sausages and beer was distributed, and the big parade flew into an amiable, jovial May Day (”Majális”) on the green lawn of the City Park, with open air terraces, caroussel, chequer blankets baskets of goodies, and beer, beer, beer….to live, to forget and to survive.

Of course we kept processes, learned communist songs to be sang on the school-solemnity, and wearing the uniform and the red shawl of the „pioneers” was obligatory. But in the afternoon we went to the Zoo  and the Amusement Park, happily played an laughed under the blue sky of Hungary. And from the 1968 already the first pop concerts – traditionally always on 1st May in the Tabán of Budapest – were regularly held as well….something has started.