Polish holidays – what are they?
Poland is a country with a rich, over 1000-years-long history. This results in multiple national holidays. They’re often a day off work and school. In the following article, we’ll show you the most important Polish holidays and clarify which are days off.
Polish holidays – Independence Day
Polish people celebrate their independence on 11th November. On that day back in 1918 Poland re-appeared on the world’s map after 123 years. Its occupants – Austro-Hungary, Russia, and Prussia have lost World War I. Compiègne armistice decreed that they withdraw their troops from the war zone, which included Polish territory.
That created an opportunity to create a new state. Once the armistice was signed, Polish people began disarming and withdrawing troops. That was the first step in creating a new army.
The Provisional People’s Government of the Republic of Poland was created to ensure that a new parliament was elected and create new law systems.
This a day off work and school. It was celebrated since 1920. In 1919 it was impossible due to the ongoing Polish-Soviet war. The celebrations ceased in 1939 when Poland came under Nazi occupation. The occupation ended in 1945…
But the communist government banned celebrating 11th November! Instead, they declared a National Day of The Liberation of Poland on 22nd July. On this day in 1944 Manifesto of the Polish Committee of National Liberation was issued. This act created a new, communist state that existed until 4th June 1989.
Polish holidays – Armed Forces Days/Assumption of Mary
Celebrated on 15th August for two reasons. One of them is the anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw that took place on that day in 1920. Once Poland was re-created in 1918, the Soviet Union almost immediately invaded it. Due to their military supremacy, they have been pushing Polish defenses back and back… Until they reached the Vistula River and the city of Warsaw.
From the 13th to the 25th of August city was been defended. On 15th August Soviet army started to lose the battle, which resulted in it losing the war and signing the treaty of Riga in 1920.
The second reason is the Assumption of Mary. It is a Roman Catholic holiday which commemorates a day on which The Mother of God was assumed body and soul into heaven. Majority of Polish people are Roman Catholics, so this religion’s holidays are day off for everyone.
During our Polish language course in Wroclaw we also teach about Polish culture and history. Our curriculum includes explaining Polish important events in much more detail. During your outside-of-class events you may even take part in the celebrations.
Polish holidays – Constitution Day
As you have probably already noticed, Polish holidays revolve around important historical anniversaries. On 3rd May Polish people celebrate the anniversary of adoption of the first constitution in 1791. It was adopted under very stressful times. Polish First Republic (1569-1795) had a unique political system called nobility democracy.
It meant that Polish nobility was ruling the country through the parliament. Nobles also enjoyed multiple privileges, of which the most troublesome was the one called liberum veto. It gave any noble the right to disband the parliament by simply yelling “liberum veto”, which is Latin for “free veto”. It was overused and led to a significant political instability.
3rd May Constitution’s main purpose was to abolish this right. It also limited nobility’s privileges and recognized burghers as equal to the nobles. It also granted the peasantry the state’s protection against serfdom’s abuses.
Polish holidays – Christmas
Most Christians observe the Christmas on 25th December. 24th December is called Christmas Eve and is observed to a moderate degree in all Christian countries. What’s curious is that in Poland Christmas Eve is celebrated much more lavishly than Christmas itself!
On the 24th of December Evening, Polish people wait until the first star sets. Then they share a wafer while giving each other Christmas wishes. After that Poles eat a HUGE dinner. Traditionally 12 dishes are eaten to honor Jesus’ 12 original apostles. Also, a Polish legend has it that on Christmas midnight animals start speaking.
25th and 26th December to two days of actual Christmas. However, they are not celebrated that much, but still are days off.
Polish holidays – others
Not all Poles are Roman Catholics and some are not even Christians at all! Their religious feasts are not nationally observed. However, the law grants people the right to a day off on their religious feast.
Orthodox Christians observe Christmas on 6th January and it is a day off for them. They also celebrate the Assumption of Mary on the 28th of August and the Baptism of Jesus on the 19th of January. People following other religions must inform their company about their feast 7 days before it.
The Polish law recognizes 13 national holidays. Due to it we decided to split our article. The rest of those holidays will be discussed in detail in the near future.
During our Polish language course in Wroclaw we also teach about Polish culture and traditions. Our Polish language school in Wroclaw offers a lot of outside-of-class events! During them you may take part in some celebrations or learn more about them.
Our Polish language course is starting on 9th October 2023. In Polish Dream Polish language school in Wroclaw you can learn both online and in-person. E-mail us at: email@example.com to enroll.