May 3rd is Constitution Day in Poland Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

Today is Constitution Day in Poland!Many people in Poland celebrate Constitution Day (Święto Konstytucji 3 Maja or Święto Narodowe Trzeciego Maja), which commemorates the enactment of the Polish Constitution that came into effect on May 3, 1791.

It is one of the most patriotic holidays in Poland. It is a moment to be spent with their families in a truly festive atmosphere. May 1st is a Labour Day in Poland, so most of Poles take May1st, 2nd and 3rd off and usually it creates a really nice long May weekend for them.


Constitution Day is part of a holiday season known as Majówka, which also includes the May 1/Labor Day holiday. It is celebrated with military parades, spring concerts and family picnics. Many people also gather at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Grób Nieznanego Żołnierza) at the Piłsudski Square in Warsaw. The monument is dedicated to unknown soldiers who gave their lives for Poland.

On May 3, 1791, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s constitution was adopted. It was the first constitution in modern Europe and second in the world, following the American one. It was a significant achievement of the Polish Enlightenment thinkers.

May 3 was established as a holiday only days after the constitution was passed by the Grand Sejm (Polish Parliament). It was later suspended for many years due to the country’s partitioning, but was reinstituted after Poland regained its freedom in 1918. After World War II, in 1946, the communist authorities banned the holiday’s public celebration. The holiday was officially cancelled in 1951. Since 1990 the May 3 holiday has again been celebrated as an official statutory holiday in Poland.

The commemoration of the Constitution of 3rd of May is a very patriotic one. This is a symbol that this nation achieved something when together its people worked and united for their country. Courageous and controversial decisions had to be made (the limiting of the power of one group of people and increasing the influence of another). This was the only way that a modern and strong country could be created and this is why this date was so symbolic for Polish people during all the 123 years when Poland was under the rule of Prussian, Russian and Austrian invaders (1795-191, then the Nazi occupation (1939-45) and finally the Russian occupation (1945-1989). This day as well as the history of the 3rd May Constitution 1791was banned for many years and not officially celebrated. Now we remember that on that day certain decisions and people created a great country and we can be proud of our part in the building of European democracy and in the establishment of the concept of the rights of the individual. And we can all celebrate 3rd May at festivities, historical presentations, parades and concerts.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

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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. Transparent Language:

    Comment received via email:

    Dziekuje, bardzo. I did attend an event for Swieto Narodowe Trzeciego Maja wczoraj na Polish Center of Wisconsin in greater Milwaukee as I am a member of the Polish American Congress.

    A lady who was born in Warsaw in March of 1939, whose father had fought with the Polish Squadron as part of the British Airforce, was honored for her very instrumental role in our local Polonia, the PNA, PAC, Polanki, Polish Fest, and Polonia Sports Club. It was a wonderful event, replete with our honored guest’s sister playing the piano magnificently, including the Polish National Anthem, which we all sang, and several selections by Chopin.

    I love receiving the Polish Blog.