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Holidays /POLAND

Halina Bednarz 2006-12-01

1. January 1 - New Year's Day /Nowy Rok (Nowy Rok)


* Sunday in Spring (movable) Easter Sunday pierwszy dzien Wielkiej Nocy (Niedziela Wielkanocna)
* Monday following Easter Sunday Easter Monday drugi dzien Wielkiej Nocy (Poniedzialek Wielkanocny)


3. May 1 - State Holiday /Swieto Panstwowe (Swieto Pracy) This holiday is intentionally not called Labour Day


4. May 3 - National 3rd of May Holiday /Swieto Narodowe Trzeciego Maja (Swieto Konstytucji Trzeciego Maja) This holiday is usually called Constitution Day. (Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791.)


* National 3rd of May Holiday /Swieto Narodowe Trzeciego Maja (Swieto Konstytucji Trzeciego Maja) This holiday is usually called Constitution Day. (Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791.) The Constitution of 3 May 1791 is Europe's first modern codified national constitution as well as the second oldest national constitution in the world (after American) It was designed to redress long-standing political defects of the federative Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and its Golden Liberty. The Constitution introduced political equality between townspeople and nobility (szlachta) and placed the peasants under the protection of the government, thus mitigating the worst abuses of serfdom. The Constitution abolished pernicious parliamentary institutions such as the liberum veto, which at one time had placed the sejm at the mercy of any deputy who might choose, or be bribed by an interest or foreign power, to undo all the legislation that had been passed by that sejm. The May 3rd Constitution sought to supplant the existing anarchy fostered by some of the country's reactionary magnates, with a more egalitarian and democratic constitutional monarchy. At the same time Constitution was translated into the Lithuanian language.

5. 7th Sunday after Easter - Pentecost Sunday /pierwszy dzien Zielonych Swiatek (Zielone Swiatki) As this holiday always falls on a Sunday it is not widely known.

6. 9th Thursday after Easter - Corpus Christi /dzien Bozego Ciala (Boze Cialo)


7. August 15 - Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary /Wniebowziecie Najswietszej Maryi Panny

8. November 1 - All Saints' Day /Wszystkich Swietych

9. November 11 - Independence Day /Narodowe Swieto Niepodleglosci (Dzien Niepodleglosci)


* Independence Day - 11 November The 11th of November is a special day for Poles, celebrated as the Independence Day meaning the return to the map of sovereign European states after 123 years of foreign rule. "The Polish State has arisen by the will of the whole Nation" - Jozef Pilsudski The Polish State was wiped out of Europe's map after the Third Partition in 1795. The Partitions of Poland (1772, 1793, and 1795) divided the Polish Kingdom among its three powerful neighbours, Russia, Austria, and Prussia. The opportunities for regaining independence emerged only in the end of the World War I when the three conquerors were defeated.

10. December 25 - 1st day of Christmas /pierwszy dzien Bozego Narodzenia
* December 26 2nd day of Christmas /Boxing Day - drugi dzien Bozego Narodzenia


In February 2004, 2 May was named Flag Day; it was not, however, made a public holiday.
Other holidays, quite different in character, include Women's Day (8 March), Mother's Day (26 May), Granny's Day (21 January) and Children's Day (1 June), all less public and celebrated first and foremost at home.

A well-established Polish tradition is the celebration of Andrzejki (St. Andrew's Day) - the last festive day before Advent, with fortune-telling to check what the new year will bring. The best-known method is by pouring hot wax into cold water and "reading" its shapes.

Nabożeństwa majowe – May devotions: May has traditionally been the month set aside to honor the Najświętsza Maria Panna (Holiest Virgin Mary). It is the month of daily Marian devotions that include the rosary, Marian hymns and litanies as well as processions and crownings of statues of the BVM

Dzień Świętego Stanisława - Feast of St. Stanislaus (May 8): Celebrated at nameday parties by the many Poles named Stanisław, it becomes a major religious event in Kraków the following Sunday. There Poland’s bishops gather to lead a procession through the streets bearing the relics of Polish saints from Wawel Cathedral to the shrine at Skalka.

Pochód Lajkonika –Tartar Hobbyhorse Parade (Octave of Corpus Christi): Since Corpus Christi is a solemnly religious experience, this more frivolous event is held on the following Thursday. The Lajkonik, a memento of the 13th-centzury Mongolian invasion of Poland, is a bearded figure in who prances about on a wooden hobbyhorse. (He actually walks on his own legs only holding a prop made to resemble the horse’s head and torso.) The parade wends its way through Old Kraków to the Norbertine Monastery with plenty of gags, fun and general merriment along the way.


* Warsaw uprising - 1 August /1944/
The Warsaw Uprising of 1944 — a heroic and tragic 63-day struggle to liberate World War 2 Warsaw from Nazi/German occupation. Undertaken by the Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK), the Polish resistance group, at the time Allied troops were breaking through the Normandy defenses and the Red Army was standing at the line of the Vistula River. Warsaw could have been one of the first European capitals liberated; however, various military and political miscalculations, as well as global politics — played among Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) — turned the dice against it.
The Warsaw Uprising was probably the largest single operation organized and executed by a partisan organization in WWII. It lasted two months, and when it was over, 200,000 people were dead, and the entire city was in ruins. In trying to achieve its goals, the uprising was a terrible failure. In showing the courage and the dedication of the Polish nation, it was a remarkable success.
The Warsaw Uprising of August 1, 1944 is one of the most important events in modern Polish history. Consequently, in 2004 the 60th Anniversary celebrations had a special meaning for all Poles around the world.

* Anniversary Of Poland's Solidarity Movement - 31 August /1980/
anniversary of the 1980 shipyard strikes in Gdansk and the creation of the Solidarity Trade Union, the first independent union established behind the Iron Curtain.
For decades, the Polish people resisted the yoke of communist oppression that descended on Poland after World War II. Their fight for democracy, human rights and independence was invigorated in 1980, when an obscure electrician, Lech Walesa, working in the Gdansk shipyard jumped over a wall proclaiming the Solidarity movement. And when he jumped over that wall, he took the whole world with him, to continue the push to free Poland.


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