What is Poland’s National Independence Day?

26 Sep 2022 - Category: Blog /
polish independence

National Independence Day in Poland is a significant day in the Polish calendar every year. It is a chance for nationwide remembrance and celebration. Families and friends come together to mark the occasion with food, music and traditional ceremonies.

The day is an opportunity for the people of Poland to gather, commemorate the anniversary of the restoration of Poland’s sovereignty and remember their shared history.

So, how exactly is Polish Independence Day celebrated? What is the date of Poland’s Independence Day? And how has their national independence day evolved over the years? In this blog we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about Polish Independence Day including:

When is Poland’s Independence Day?

Poland’s Independence Day occurs on the 11th of November every year. The day is marked with celebrations, ceremonies and events throughout the country. It is a non-working day and a flag flying day observed throughout Poland and among communities of Polish immigrants around the world.

Why is National Independence Day Celebrated in Poland?

National Independence Day is celebrated on the 11th of November every year because it marks the re-establishment of the Republic of Poland following the end of the First World War. For more than a hundred years prior to 1918, Poland had been a divided nation. During various periods it was ruled by Austria, the Kingdom of Prussia and the Russian empire.

It wasn’t until the close of the First World War that Poland was finally a united country once again. After the defeat of the occupying forces the Polish people seized military and civil power and began to build a revitalised nation. On the 6th of November the Provisional Government of the People’s Republic of Poland was formed in Lublin. Subsequently, Ignacy Ewaryst Daszyński, famous politician and journalist, became prime minister of this first government.

On the 11th of November 1918 Józef Piłsudski, was appointed Commander in Chief and was tasked with creating a national government for a reborn Polish nation. On the 17th of November 1918, following Ignacy Daszyński’s very brief period of control, Józef Piłsudski appointed Jędrzej Moraczewski as the prime minister.

Today, all these years later National Independence Day is a yearly opportunity for the Polish people to remember this significant period in their history and recognise the efforts of those who secure their independence. The date also coincides with Armistice days in many other countries which are held to commemorate the end of the first world war.

How is Independence Day celebrated in Poland?

So, now you know a bit about the politics and history of National Independence Day in Poland, what about the actual celebrations?

Some of the key National Independence Day traditions in Poland include military parades, traditional music, and wreath laying. Here are a few of the ways Polish citizens mark the day:

  • Marches, wreath laying and the ceremonial changing of the guard

On the 11th of November, a televised military parade took place at Warsaw’s Pilsudski Square. The parade is composed of a number of regiment-sized formations all presided over by the President of Poland. After a formal parade and ceremony that serves as an act of remembrance, the parade commander then prepares the companies for the solemn guard mounting at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Wreaths are laid in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in remembrance of the millions of people who have died to protect and promote the fortunes of Poland and the Polish people during their history. After the wreath laying the military band plays the Armed Forces March ‘We Are The First Brigade’ and the march ends with further salutes and formations.

  • Waving the flag

On National Independence Day Polish flags are displayed throughout the country. If you find major cities like Warsaw, Kraków or Poznan you are likely to see large special flag poles lining the streets, flags draped out apartment windows and painted flags in restaurants and shops.

  • Warsaw Independence Run

One of the more interesting independence day traditions is the Warsaw Independence Run. Every year runners, dressed in the national colours of white and red, gather in Warsaw to take part in the race that has multiple distances including 5 and 10 kilometres. At the beginning of the race the runners get together to form a living Polish flag. At the end of the race each participant receives a medal and a certificate before they leave to spend the rest of the day celebrating with families and friends.

  • Food

As with all good national celebrations there is always plenty of food to be enjoyed. Some tasty Polish Independence Day treats include Pierogis, Rosół (Chicken soup), Barszcz, Łazanki (Pasta) and Gołabki (Cabbage rolls). You are likely to find many of these delicious treats and meals at family gatherings, street festivals and traditional parades all over Poland.

If you’re thinking about travelling to Poland for National Independence Day you should be aware that your experience is likely to be affected by the celebrations. It is a national holiday and therefore most shops and offices will be closed. If you are in Warsaw in particular there will be travel disruption, road closures and delays on public transportation.

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