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‎1 Maja Święto Pracy Posted by on Apr 29, 2012 in Countries, Culture, Current News, Grammar, History, Holidays, Literature, Poetry, Polish Language

The tradition of celebrating Labour Day (Święto Pracy ) in Poland goes back to 1890. During the communism, after WW2 it was one of the most important national holidays.  On this day marches took place, participation in them was obligatory or encouraged by the possibilty to buy attractive goods difficult to find in Poland in those times. The marches were so much hated that they practically disappeared after the fall of communism.

After 1989 manifestations have still taken place every year and have been organised by left-wing parties and workers’ organisations. Sometimes clashes of extreme right- wing organisations with the demonstrators take place.

The day is free from work and all the students enjoy it primarily for that reason.  They can not remember the marches or what they looked like, it is their parents and grandparents who remember them.

Here is a great Labour Day poem by L.Mróz-Cieślik

1 Maja Święto Pracy

 Pierwszy Maja Święto pracy

kiedyś tak on wiele znaczył

były wiece i pochody

musiał iść stary czy młody

 (First of May Labour Day

It had meant so much

were rallies and marches

all had to go old or young)

Nie było żadnej wymówki

chorągiewki piękne mówki

Na przodzie rządząca elita

dalej klasa robotnicza

(There was no excuse

beautiful flags and speeches

On the front was the ruling elite

and behind the working class) 

Propagandy hasła w ustach

masowo jak na odpustach

nawet gdyby mocno grzmiało

święto odbyć się musiało

(Propaganda words

mass-like indulgences

even if it thundered heavily

festival had to be)

Kiedyś huczne honorowe

sztywne i obowiązkowe

zakwitały bzy w ogrodzie

naród myślał o pochodzie

(Once boisterous honor

 rigid and mandatory

lilacs bloomed in the garden

people thought of the parade)

Pośród fałszu zakłamania

równym krokiem już od rana

zjednoczeni partii siłą

pamiętacie jak to było!!

(Among the falsehoods of hypocrisy

even step in the morning

united strength of the party

remember how it was!)

Po latach to Święto Pracy

jakoś lepiej się kojarzy

zaciera czas co niemiłe

pamięta też dobre chwile

 (After years of this Labour Day

somehow better associate

Time blurs as unpleasant

Also remembers the good times)

Zmieniają się rządy systemy

tak jest nic tego nie zmieni

historia się sama obroni

i tak swoje pomyślą potomni….

(Governments and systems are changing

like nothing will change

History will defend itself

and so their descendants will think ….)

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)



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About the Author:Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew up in Lublin, Poland and moved to Warsaw to study International Business. I have passion for languages: any languages! Currently I live in New Hampshire. I enjoy skiing, kayaking, biking and paddle boarding. My husband speaks a little Polish, but our daughters are fluent in it! I wanted to make sure that they can communicate with their Polish relatives in our native language. Teaching them Polish since they were born was the best thing I could have given them! I have been writing about learning Polish language and culture for Transparent Language’s Polish Blog since 2010.

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