This day has become a part of vast May celebrations that actually consist of 2 holidays: International Workers’ Day and Victory Day. In Russia these holidays and days preceding or following them are usually the days-off and so this period becomes a long lasting spring weekend when families get together. If you study Russian in St. Petersburg and stay at our host-families’ accommodation you can observe this tradition very vividly.
First time the International Workers’ Day was celebrated in Russia in 1891 though the holiday was officially recognized only in 1917. In the USSR the holiday became very popular and many cities and towns organized parades.
For a long time the 1st of May was a symbol of the revolution and class struggle.
Demonstrations with the portraits of the political leaders, the slogans and the posters took place on this day. Nowadays the political significance of it has ceased. It has become an ordinary spring holiday including performances, fairs, peaceful marches and many entertainment events.