Music > Song of the Day > "For the First of May"

"For the First of May"

​In many countries, the first of May is still celebrated as May Day or Labor Day.

To this day, Bundists around the world mark the day with the singing of the Bund anthem. The General Jewish Labor Bund is a socialist, Jewish, secular movement founded in Vilnius, then part of the Russian Empire, in 1897. Its mission was to unite all the Jewish laborers and make them part of the world labor movement.

The song "Di Shvue" (the oath) and other socialist songs written in Yiddish in the early 20th century are still sung at movement rallies all over the world and at the movement's headquarters in Tel Aviv. The Bund movement regards Yiddish language and culture as the national culture of the Jewish people.

In Israel, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, the Histadrut labor union would celebrate Labor Day with parades and mass rallies. To this end, some of the songs originally in Russian and Yiddish were translated into Hebrew.  Zionist versions of the songs sung on this day also emerged.

The booklet "For the First of May" was published by the Histadrut's education center in 1950. The first 35 pages relate the history of the day and the preparations and production of the ceremony. The next section contains the lyrics and melodies to twenty songs, as well as stories and games for young children. 
Song of the Day
Song of the Day
The songs presented here come from the National Library's extensive collection of songs, prayers and other musical works. The songs are preserved and made available via the website with the assistance of the Legacy Heritage Fund