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Monday, 30 April 2012

May Day holiday in Benidorm

Traditional May Day military parade in North Korea
Tomorrow, 1st May is a national holiday in Spain and across most of Europe. It is officially "International Workers Day" or "Dia del Trabajador" - also known as May Day and historically a day of street marches and demonstrations by labour unions and socialist, communist and anarchist groups. It is a very important holiday in communist countries such as China, North Korea, Cuba and former Soviet Block countries who use this day to parade their military power with huge parades in front of the party officials.

In the UK, the date is always moved to the first Monday in May - this year it falls on Monday 7th but across most European countries it remains on the actual date - regardless of which day of the week it falls on. Here in Spain many places take a "puente" - bridge, so that if the official holiday falls on a Tuesday they take Monday as a bridging day or if on a Thursday they take the Friday. This gives them an extra long weekend but rumours are adrift that the government is looking to stop puentes as it is deemed damaging to the economy. All schools are closed today - which makes it problematic to working parents who do not have "an extra day off". 
Tomorrow all banks will be shut as will major supermarkets such as Carrefour in Finestrat (beside the Marina Shopping Centre) and all Mercadona branches. Some smaller shops may operate Sunday opening times - until 2pm, but may possibly remain shut... best get your fresh milk in today just in case! 
Restaurants will be busy tomorrow as Spanish families will take the opportunity to spend time together. Terra Mitica theme park will be open specially from 10am until 8pm to capitalise on the extra bank holiday custom (they would normally still be closed during the week). Most Spanish people will use it as a chilling out day - possibly in the major cities such as Madrid and Barcelona you may see some demonstrations, but overall its viewed as an extra day off.
I remember the UK back in the 70's when we use to have May Day celebrations which entailed dancing around the Maypole ... such a shame that no-one seems to carry on these traditions - but in this age of high tech gadgets would todays children really take any interest - or perhaps "Health & Safety" will deem it as a hazard as someone may get tangled up in a ribbon!

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