May holidays through the eyes of Moldovans

Moldova is the land of never-ending holidays. Only our nation celebrates Christmas and New Year twice a year, we observe both Valentine’s Day, and the more traditional love holiday - „Dragobete”, and in May, we like to celebrate and Europe Day and Victory Day, and many other traditional holidays. Lately, there has been quite a debate over the May holidays in Moldova: should we celebrate them? what should we celebrate? and when exactly should we do it?

To find out the attitude of our citizens about the holidays of May, in comparison with other celebrations of the year, Magenta Consulting performed an on-line research on a sample of 339 people, aged 15 to 61 years. Turns out that for the majority of our people, the most important holiday is the New Year (36%), followed by Easter holidays (18%), birthdays (16%), Christmas (16%), and the holidays in May, which gathered merely 4% of all votes. An interesting fact was revealed - 10% of respondents declared they dislike holidays in general, while for the day of September 1, first day of school or the Knowledge Day, nobody gave any vote (Figure 1). 

Fig. 1. Favorite holidays (%), N=339



Moldavian internet users don’t like to get old. The study shows that with the age advance, the interest for celebrating birthdays decreases. While for the respondents aged 15-20 years the birthday and New Year holidays are the most important holidays (29% each holiday), then for the respondents aged over 41 years – the birthday is of no importance, as none included it in the list of their preferred holidays. Nevertheless, the most reluctant to celebrate any kind of holidays are the people aged 51-61 years (60%).

Another interesting conclusion can be drown in regard to the holidays of May month: Labor Day and Victory Day are the preferred holidays especially of the respondents with monthly income lower than 4000 MDL (total of 15%), and at the same time, of the respondents with incomes higher than 7000 MDL (35%). While for those with average incomes, the most favored holidays include New Years Day, Christmas, Easter and birthdays.

We’ve already gotten used to debating over the importance of the May holidays for the local population. The research reveals that for the majority of participants these holidays are associated with the military parade (26%), and also with the wonderful opportunity to have a barbeque (24%). For others, the last month of spring is the time of blooming orchards (13%), and also an opportunity to enjoy a few extra days off (13%). Meanwhile for other 10% of participants, the holidays of this month involve the traditional Workers’ Parade (Figure 2). Only 4% of all respondents, mainly aged 36-45 years, associated this period with the idea of „Subotnik” (in Russian „the day dedicated to cleaning and greening the space around”).. Women, in a larger share than men, associate these holidays with the great opportunity to engage in cleaning and greening activities, and at the same time they mention that these days are as a vacation for them. We can only conclude that our women are used to taking advantage of some additional days off to clean once again their houses.

Figure 2. Associations with the May Holidays (%), N=338 

Asked about their holiday plans, 64% of Moldovans answered they will definitely spend the holidays having barbeque with their friends and relatives. 21% of the interviewed, mostly women, mentioned they were planning to stay at home and do some cleaning. Those who were planning to spend their holidays in bed, enjoying their favorite television programs, resulted to be the people aged 41-45 years and also those of 15-25 years. 19% would prefer going somewhere abroad during these holidays, while other 18% of our citizens were planning to participate in the public parade dedicated to this occasion, the most active being those aged 26-30 and 41-45 years. Pupils and students (13%) plan using these days for exam studying, while the respondents with other occupation intent going fishing (13%), or visiting their villa (11%). Some of respondents, mainly people with monthly income over 6000 MDL, mentioned they don’t have days off at work, and therefore are planning to go to work. Among other holiday plans, camping and hiking trips were mentioned, or walks through the city, attending weddings and/or baptism parties. The response of one participant was very interesting, as he confessed that during May month, the only holiday he celebrates is the birthday of his mother-in-law.

We all know that every year in May we have two days off (if the calendar doesn’t play a trick on us and places these two holidays on the weekend). The Labor Code informs us that on May 1st it is celebrated the „International Day of Workers’ Solidarity”, while May 9th is officially named the „Day of Victory and commemoration of victims passed away for the independence of the Motherland” (acc. to Article 69, Labor Code of Moldova). And since these are official holidays, they presume certain public manifestations. When asked if they plan participating at any of the public events supposed to be organized, 44% of respondents replied that these events are part of the past and therefore do not see any reason to participate, other 28% specified they would take part in any case, as these type of events unite people, , while 22% would like to go, even though they don’t see the reason for organizing anymore this type of public manifestations.

After a long winter and a cold spring, the day of May 1st coincided with the first really warm and sunny week-end of the year and the barbecues of Moldavians indicated the opening of the nature partying season. In the end, we are a fascinating nation, unique in our way for celebrating Labor Day resting, and celebrating Victory Day – losing the appetizing battle with the roasted sausages. Judging by the loud chatter and the party music in many houses, we know for sure that the weekend was a definite success for all our neighbors.