Poles enjoy many holidays, a combination of religious, national/historical and legacy communist holidays. The May Holiday long weekend (Majówka), is one of the main holiday weekends of the year.
1st May – Labour Day, (Swieto Pracy) is one of those legacies from communist times, and is celebrated around the world, sometimes known as workers day. Of course the Poles have put their communist past behind them, but why would they give up the holiday !
2nd May – Flag Day, (Dzień Flagi Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej), A holiday introduced in 2004, it commemorates raising the flag on Siegessäule during the Battle of Berlin.
The now familiar red and white colours of the flag were first recognised as the national colours on 3 May 1792, on the first anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of 3 May. They were officially adopted as the colours of the Polish State by the Sejm of the Kingdom of Poland in 1831 during the November Uprising. After Poland regained independence, the appearance of the Polish flag was confirmed by the Legislative Sejm on 1 August 1919.
On this day, Poles reflect upon the long history of the red and white national colours and proudly display flags outside their houses.
3rd May – Constitution Day, (Święto Konstytucji 3 Maja) is a much more important celebration of Poland’s independence and nationalism. Commemorating the signing of Poland’s and Europe’s first national constitution signed in 1791 in Warsaw.
4th May – Fire Fighter’s Day, (Dzień Strażaka), not really a holiday as such, but definitely worth checking out the parade if the kids, or the kid inside you are into fire engines, old and new, big and small, four wheeled and four legged ! Fire Fighters Day coincides with International Firefighters’ Day, established in 2002. Usually there is a parade around the Rynek of firefighters, on horseback, vintage and contemporary fire appliances.
The May Holiday weekend is a fun, family occasion, events, concerts, family picnics along with formal parades and ceremonies.
In Kraków the main Majówka events are:-
Saturday 30th April
11:00 Park Jordana
The first concert in the series “Music Mornings”. Opera Love Duet: Agnieszka Sokolnicka (soprano) and Wojciech Sokolnicki (tenor). The repertoire will include works by opera – musicals.
Sunday 1st May
09:10 – 11:10 and 13:10 – 17:40
Entry to the Tower of St. Mary’s Church will be free. The number of tickets are limited – for safety reasons
15 people will be admitted every 20 minutes ( Tickets for allocated times must be obtained before entering) .
11:00 Park Anny i Erazma Jerzmanowskich (ul. Na Wrzosach)
Iwona Konieczkowska, accompanied on piano by Tadeusz Lesniak and accordion – Wieslaw Dziedziński perform a repertoire of French music.
20:00 ICE Krakow
A concert by Max Richter with music from the albums “recomposed : Vivaldi – The Four Seasons,” in which the musician took a workshop famous violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi known as the “Four Seasons”, as well as material from the album “The Blue Notebooks”.
Monday 2nd May
the Polish fag will be hung from many of Kraków’s buildings, and the Estakada Lipska – Wielicka, TAURON Arena Kraków and Kładka footbridge will be lit in the red/white national colours.
11:30 Centrum Młodzieży im. H. Jordana, ul. Krupnicza 38. – Meet for a family roller blade ride, over 10km dressed in the national colours.
Tuesday 3rd May
11:00 Park Ratuszowym, Alei Róż, – the well-known Boba Jazz Band, perform – swinging traditional jazz.
The official ceremony commemorating the adoption of the Constitution of May 3 will start at
09:30 Laying wreaths at the Military Monument (Czynu Zbrojnego) Powiśle.
10:00 Wawel Cathedral – Mass with veterans’ organisations and uniformed services.
11:30 Procession, from Wawel Hill, via Grodzka and Florianska to Plac Matejki.
12:00 Plac Matejki – Official ceremony: laying of flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by dignitaries , representatives of patriotic organisations, political parties, scouts and residents of Krakow.
17:00 Mały Rynek – The 60th edition of the ‘Singing Lesson’. community sing along concert led by Kazimierz Madej and Waldemar Domanski. The City of Krakow, have prepared 4,000 free songbooks. Welcome to the May 3 Singing Lesson
10:30 – 14:30 – For the 20th year, “Patriotic Tram” will travel through Kraków. On the tram young Poles will sing patriotic songs. Passengers are encouraged to join in and will be handed song books, flags, badges, and leaflets to help get them in the mood. The tram will run around Planty from 10:30 until 14:30.
The celebration of the XXVIII edition of the project “Youth remembers” [pdf]