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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Hungary, Lesson 18 - International Workers' Day
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Hungary Series at HungarianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Hungarian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 18, International Workers' Day. In Hungarian, it’s called a munka ünnepe.
May 1 is Labor Day in many countries around the world. In this lesson we’ll look at the origin of this day and take a closer look at how different ideologies changed the name and meaning of this day in Hungary.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
Do you know the relationship of Beatrice to the well-known labor movement saying "8 hours work, 8 hours rest, 8 hours play"?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
In 1891, at the second congress of the Internacionale, May 1 was officially pronounced the "warrior holiday of the cooperation of the international working class". During the twentieth century, May 1 became gradually more and more socialist; it became a national holiday, or nemzeti ünnepnap, in the Soviet Union, Hungary, and other socialist countries. In parallel, the day that was originally called "the day of workers" was renamed the "day of work" as it was more in line with the regime's beliefs. After the fall of communism, or kommunizmus, it was renamed the Solidarity Day of Laborers.
During the communist era, there were spectacular May Day parades where crowd of hundreds of thousands people gathered in Budapest and other major cities. Leading politicians smiled and waved from a grandstand to people holding Soviet and Hungarian flags beneath. All segments of the working class were represented. The workers, or munkások, from various factories and manufacturing plants marched one by one, but labor union representatives, pioneers, and of course the soldiers and vehicles of the Hungarian army were represented too.
After the fall of communism in 1989 these huge state events were ceased, and now every political party can celebrate this day according to its own views. Nowadays these outdoor festivities are about leisure, not ideologies. The day also took back its Catholic heritage. This is the day when Hungarians commemorate the carpenter Saint Joseph who was the foster father of Jesus.
May 1st can be connected to several other events as well. For example, this was the day in 1881 when Tivadar Puskás's invention, the telephone exchange, started operating in Budapest; Hungarian Television also began on this day in 1957 and Hungary became a member of the European Union, or Európai Unió on May 1, 2004.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know the relationship of Beatrice to the well-known labor movement saying "8 hours work, 8 hours rest, 8 hours play"?
Beatrice is a Hungarian rock band, which became popular in Hungary with their song named for the well-known slogan of the labor movement, “8 hours work, 8 hours rest, 8 hours play”.
Did you like this lesson? Did you learn any interesting facts?
How do people celebrate May Day in your country?
Leave us your comments at HungarianPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.