Co-operative Labour

Co-operative labour is an old times folk tradition of joint labour and mutual help in the rural areas. Sometimes there are jobs to be done urgently, but are so overwhelming for one household, so that neighbours are called in for help. A husband of a house calls in for the co-operative labour – the works done jointly with a help of neighbours or if necessary, the whole village. Such labour is voluntary and without pay, but the husband of the house receiving help is obliged to provide food and drink. Usually, the young participate in such activities, which also brings them all together. When the works are completed, they all gather at the husband’s house, and after a nice dinner, such gatherings turned into a village festivity. There was also co-op labour out of mercy, when people came to help without being invited – in cases when a destitute family needed help or when a household was left without its male head. In such cases, the household receiving help was not obliged to provide food and drink for the help. Such co-op labour system was implemented during harvesting season, hay gathering, field mowing, fruit picking or corn husking. Also a type of co-op labour are women’s spin or other gatherings, when they spun wool, knitted and did the embroidery. And things were done with singing, talking and teaching the young – and everyone could show what they were best in. So, such co-op works used to be quite a comprehensive expression of a rural community life.


The Serbia word, mоbа comes from mоlbа (a request, an appeal)


Numerous original folk songs were created and sung during such co-op activities.  One of the female bands continuing with the Serbian singing tradition is Моbа of Belgrade.