Here in Kraków and across Poland, we are looking forward to the traditional May holiday weekend, (Majówka), one of the main holiday weekends of the year. This year, we can look forward to a return of the traditional events, following 2 years of Covid restrictions.
Traditional May Holidays
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. The President of Kraków has made an appeal for residents to fly the flag on their homes and buildings.
The red and white will also be flown from official buildings and displayed electronically at the usual places. You will also see other flags; the blue/white city flag, the blue/yellow National flag of Ukraine, in solidarity with our Ukrainian neighbours, and the EU flag, as May 1st marks the 18th Anniversary of Poland’s accession to the EU in 2004.
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. This year marks the 231st anniversary of the adoption of the May 3rd Constitution
4th May – Fire Fighter’s Day, (Dzień Strażaka), not really a holiday as such, but – in normal, non-covid – times, 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.
Majówka events in Kraków
A number of events and performances are taking place over the holiday weekend, including, community singing of the national anthems of Poland and the European Union, concert of patriotic songs, dance performances on the Main Square, walks and family events, OFFCamera – a celebration of independent cinema and a variety of cultural performances.
Friday 29th April
International Day of Dance with the Cracovia Danza Ballet
The Cracovia Danza ballet returns with the series “Ballet in the City” – outdoor dance events in the city space. On Friday, April 29 , on the occasion of the International Dance Day, the “Po polsku i po kozacku” program will take place on the Main Square. The event is part of the nationwide campaign “TańczMY”, organised since 2019 by the National Institute of Music and Dance.
Concert “Renata Przemyk and Men”
A unique concert, during which Renata Przemyk will present songs from the latest album, performed in interesting arrangements and in exceptional duets. The event will take place on April 29 at the Nowa Huta Cultural Center.
15th edition of the Mastercard OFF CAMERA festival
Since 2008, Mastercard OFF CAMERA has been promoting independent cinema from all over the world. Time for the festival’s 15th birthday and a new opening. The event starts on 29th April and will last until 8th May.
Saturday 30th April
Mayday OdNowa performance at the Bagatela Theatre
A daring and one of the most famous farces – now in an absolutely surprising version – it was prepared by an outstanding actor and director Artur Barcis. The Bagatela theatre is the first stage in the world to use the latest version of Ray Cooney’s masterpiece, offering viewers a revolutionary, sensational and fully relaxing performance. The show will take place on April 30 , and on May 1 and 3 .
The performance “Don’t cry, Goat” at the Groteska Theatre
“Don’t Cry, Goat” („Nie płacz, Koziołku”) is a touching performance about friendship and sacrifice, which has been played at the Groteska Theater for several years. The show will be available on April 30 and May 3 . Additionally, on April 30 at At noon, the performance will be presented in the Ukrainian-Polish language version.
The performance “Other Pleasures” at the STU Theatre
The STU Theatre invites you to a performance entitled “Other Pleasures” ( „Inne rozkosze”) based on the book by Jerzy Pilch and directed by Artur “Baron” Więcek. Performances on April 30 and May 1 .
Sunday 1st May
18 years of Poland in the European Union
On Sunday, 1st May, at noon, the citizens of Kraków will sing the anthems of Poland and the European Union together with a 130-strong choir. Flags bearing the colours of the European Union will be distributed among the residents who will arrive at the Main Square at this time.
“Absence” („Nieobecność”) – Concert in memory of Ewa Demarczyk
On 1st May, a concert will be held at the Słowacki Theatre, during which Iwona Bielska, Ewelina Casette, Agnieszka Kościelniak, Weronika Kowalska, Agnieszka Przekupień, Anastazja Simińska, Mirosław Baka, Piotr Fronczewski, Mikołaj Grabowski and Andrzej Seweryn will recall songs performed by Ewa Demarczyk, who died nearly two years ago.
Let’s go back as in the old days – the artists of Piwnica pod Baranami in the interwar repertoire
On 1st May, Piwnica pod Baranami invites everyone interested in the works of the interwar period to enjoy songs with soul and character. During the concert, among others, Ola Maurer, Ewa Wnukowa, Dorota Ślęzak, Rafał Jędrzejczyk, Maciej Półtorak, Kamila Klimczak, Jakub Zuckerman will perform. Beginning at 20.00.
May weekend at the Museum of Engineering and Technology and the Garden of Experiences (Muzeum Inżynierii i Techniki oraz Ogrodzie Doświadczeń)
May weekend is also a good opportunity to visit Krakow museums. The Museum of Engineering and Technology invites you to its headquarters at ul. św Wawrzyńca open on 1st and 3rd May, and the Garden of Experiences (Ogród Doświadczeń), S. Lem, encourages, especially the youngest inhabitants of Krakow and guests, to visit on 1st-3rd May.
New exhibitions at MOCAK
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (open 1st-3rd May) invites you to new exhibitions, opened on April 28: “Politics in art”, “This blood is for you”, “The last Swiss survivors of the Holocaust”.
MuFo invites you on the weekend in May
The long weekend is also a good opportunity to see the proposals of individual branches of the Museum of Photography in Krakow – MuFo, where you can visit on 1st May and 3rd May.
Monday 2nd May
On roller skates and scooters for white and red (dla biało-czerwonej)
Participants of the family event “For the white and red” will ride through the streets of Krakow on roller skates, roller skates, scooters and skateboards and in white and red costumes .
The meeting is scheduled for Monday, 2nd May, at 12.00 in the yard of the Youth Center at ul. Krupnicza 38, and the start at 12.30. Commemorative diplomas, discount cards and patriotic materials are provided for the participants.
Detailed information (regulations, route map) can be found here.
Recital of Jewish songs performed by Beata Czernecka
Beata Czernecka is an artist inextricably linked with Krakow. In the 90s of the last century, she joined Piwnica Pod Baranami, where she develops her greatest passion, which today she infects others with incredible power – a Jewish song. Recital “Zol Zajn” (“Songs of the soul”) are pieces whose texts, taken from contemporary poetry and old folk songs, perfectly match the unusual, strong timbre of the artist’s voice. The concert will begin on 2nd May at 8:00 pm in Piwnica Pod Baranami.
Tuesday 3rd May
Ride of the “Patriotic tram”
On Tuesday, 3rd May – the traditional white and red tram will travel through the streets of Krakow, in which volunteers will hand out free songbooks of Polish patriotic songs, flags in national colours, leaflets, stickers etc.
80th Krakow Singing Lesson “May Dawn”
“May Dawn” („Majowa Jutrzenka”) – is the title of the 80th Krakow Singing Lesson, (Lekcja Śpiewania), which will take place on Tuesday, 3rd May, at 5.00 p.m. in Mały Rynek. Patriotic songs will be performed during the concert with the participation of the artists of the Loch Camelot Theatre with the audience joining in with a sing along. The lesson will be conducted by Waldemar Domański – the initiator of the event and the director of the Polish Song Library.
“Songs of the STU Theatre”
The concert “Songs of the STU Theatre” evokes the brightest musical memories of the old years of the STU Theatre. Young and talented singers present works particularly related to the legendary Krakow theatre. Krzysztof Jasiński entered the selected songs into the literary script of his own idea, and entrusted the musical arrangement to Krzysztof Herdzin, so that the “old songs” sounded anew! With what effect? You can find out about on 2nd, 3rd and 4th May.
Two important words (Ważne dwa słowa) – Leszek Wójtowicz’s original recital
On 3rd May , Piwnica Pod Baranami will host a recital by Leszek Wójtowicz – a poet, singer, composer and author of literary songs. Beginning at 20.00.
Active Majówka with the KBF
Physical activity improves mood, increases learning abilities, increases self-esteem, reduces stress, increases the efficiency of the brain, and also improves the efficiency, endurance and flexibility of the body.
The KBF along with ‘Kids in the City’ have prepared proposals for young and old to actively spend the holiday weekend in Krakow, with a series of guides, walks and activities, making sure that the city’s multicultural and multilingual community also feel at home!
Public Transport changes over the Holiday Weekend
Saturday, April 30:
Buses and trams will run according to Saturday timetables without restrictions.
Sunday, May 1 – Labor Day:
Buses and trams will run according to holiday timetables without restrictions.
Monday, May 2:
Buses and trams will run according to daily timetables with the following changes:
No. 1, 13, 18 – they will run every 15 minutes throughout the day
6, 17, 49, 74 – will be suspended
No. 134 – will run according to a special timetable (approx. 9.30-14.00 every 15 minutes, additional courses will be carried out regardless of the weather forecast)
No. 139 – during rush hours it will run every 10 minutes
No. 194 – will run all day every 10 minutes
433, 572 – will be suspended
Tuesday, May 3 – May 3rd Constitution Day:
Buses and trams will run according to holiday timetables without restrictions.
Warning! On this day, events related to the Constitution of May 3 will be held in Krakow and in towns served by agglomeration lines, resulting in temporary difficulties and changes in the operation of tram and bus lines.
They will run according to the rules in force on a given night (taking into account temporary changes resulting from renovation works carried out).
Have a great Majówka!
David fell in love with Kraków 24 years ago, making it his home in 2011.
In 2020 he was awarded the title of Kraków’s Ambassador of Multiculturalism, by the President of Kraków, and is also a member of the GlobalScot network, representing Scottish culture and business abroad.
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