Labour Day and Constitution Day in Poland Posted by on Apr 27, 2011 in Culture

In Poland as in many other countries some people celebrate the 1st of May as an international day of social justice and workers’ rights. However for Poles these celebrations have specific associations – after the WW II the communist authorities used this day in order to show their power and friendship with the USSR. Unfortunately, the presence on impressive and colourful parades was obligatory and people who didn’t want to take part were somehow punished at work or school. Some “disobedient citizens” considered the absence as a patriotic manifestation.

Now on the 1st of May parades are still being organized in Poland. Left-wing parties and their allies meet there communist worshippers, trade union activits and anti-capitalists.

As in Poland the 1st and the 3rd of May are free of work they form a long weekend – długi weekend. We call it weekend majowy or majówka. In the favourable conditions you can take 3 days off. Many Poles plan far or close trips, grills, parties with friends on działka (a piece of land which we own, with a house or even not, not very far, where we gather, grill sausages, drink alcohol, invite close people, sometimes sleep).

Constitution Day (May 3rd) commemorates Poland’s first constitution in 1791, the second written constitution in the world (after that of the United States), and the first in Europe. It provided for the separation of powers between the executive (the monarch), the legislature (the Sejm), and the judiciary. Although hailed throughout the West as a triumph for progressive forces, after betrayal by Poland’s ally, Frederick William II of Prussia, it was suppressed the following year by Catherine II of Russia, who saw it as a threat to her own absolute rule.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)


Keep learning Polish with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Kasia

My name is Kasia Scontsas. I grew near 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.


  1. Emilia:

    Witaj Majowa Jutrzenka, Siwiec naszej Polskiej Krainie


  2. Mary Zurawski:

    Thank you Kasia for your very informative blogs. I look forward to every thing you write.