Poles like to celebrate a lot, so they have 13 public holidays and religious feasts, which are non-working days. Most public institutions, banks and shopping centres are closed on these days, and you will find most shopping centres full with people the day before. On public holidays, however, you may only find some local smaller shops in the neighbourhood, which will be open, but many bars and restaurants do cater to customers, so you do not need to worry you will starve.
In bigger Polish cities like Warsaw, Cracow, Gdańsk, Wrocław or Poznań public holidays are generally observed in the same way.
Special days (marked green) such as Women’s Day (8 March), Mother’s Day (26 May), Grandmother’s Day (21 January), Grandfather’s Day (22 January), Children’s Day (1 June) and Father’s Day (23 June) are normal working days and are celebrated mostly at home, with a family dinner and some gifts.
Below we list and describe the most important public holidays and observances in Poland in 2017:
|Jan. 1st (Sun)||New Year’s Day (Nowy Rok)|
|Jan. 6th (Fri)||Epiphany (Trzech Króli) wikipedia|
|Jan. 21st (Sat)||Grandmother’s Day (Dzień Babci)|
|Jan. 22st (Sun)||Grandfather’s Day (Dzień Dziadka)|
|Mar. 8th (Wed)||Women’s Day (Dzień Kobiet) wikipedia|
|Apr. 16th (Sun)||Easter Sunday (Wielkanoc)|
|Apr. 17st (Mon)||Easter Monday (Śmigus Dyngus)|
|May 1st (Mon)||Labour Day (Święto Pracy)|
|May 3rd (Wed)||Constitution Day (Konstytucji 3. Maja)|
|May 26th (Fri)||Mother’s Day (Dzień Matki)|
|Jun. 1st (Thu)||Children’s Day (Dzień Dziecka)|
|Jun. 4th (Sun)||Pentecost Sunday (Zielone Świątki)|
|Jun. 15th (Thu)||Corpus Christi (Boże Ciało) wikipedia|
|Jun. 23rd (Fri)||Father’s Day (Dzień Ojca)|
|Aug. 15th (Tue)||Assumption (Wniebowzięcie)|
|Nov. 1st (Tue)||All Saints’ Day (Wszystkich Świętych)|
|Nov. 11th (Sat)||Independence Day (Dzień Niepodległości)|
|Dec. 25th (Mon)||Christmas Day (Boże Narodzenie)|
|Dec. 26th (Tue)||Boxing Day (Św. Szczepana)|
When a public holiday falls on Saturday an employee is entitled to an extra day off. The day off is observed on a normal working day mutually agreed between employer and employee. In 2017 there is one public holiday – Independence Day, which falls on a Saturday. If the holiday falls on a Sunday employees are not entitled to an additional non-working day. Always consult an HR representative to confirm how it works at your company.
Easter • April 16th and 17thEaster is a major holiday in Poland, associated with joy and happiness. This time of the year is very colourful, accompanied by many religious and folk rituals.
The Holy Week starts one week before Easter Sunday, on Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where everyone gathers in church with a specially arranged bouquet of dried flowers, called palm. The palm is to protect people and their households from evil and fire. Palms are very colourful, richly decorated with flowers, and vary from very short (15cm) to even 10m-long ones.
On Maundy Thursday, which commemorates the Last Supper and the Maundy, starts the Easter Triduum (Triduum Paschalne). In cathedrals a chrism mass (msza krzyżma) takes place, and the oils used to administer certain sacraments are consecrated. During the mass priests also renew their ordinations. In parish churches there is one evening mass – the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which inaugurates the Easter Triduum, and commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples. When the believers are singing Gloria in excelsis Deo all the bells are tolling, then they fall silent until Sunday morning.
In some churches maundy – foot washing is practised, 12 men, the so called “Mandatum” have their feet washed by the priest. At the end of the mass the Blessed Sacrament is carried to a place of reservation somewhere in the church or in an appropriately adorned chapel called Ciemnica, where it is put in the tabernacle and adored until Friday.
The Stripping of the Altar (lat. denudatio altaris) is a ceremony that ends the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Crosses, altarcloths, candles, missal and flowers are removed from the altar, usually by the sacristan. This gesture is a sybmol of the end of the Last Supper and Jesus being left alone and stripped from his clothes.
The next important day is Holy Saturday, the day of joyful contemplation. Families prepare beautifully decorated Easter baskets filled with food that needs to be blessed in church that day. The eggs must not be missed because they symbolise the rebirth of Christ and new life, as well as a small lamb made of sugar, symbolising the martyrdom of Christ, and also a piece of bread, salt, ham, horseradish or Easter cakes. The food from the Easter basket must be eaten at the Easter breakfast the next day.
On Easter Sunday every family gathers togehter to eat the Easter breakfast. Next to the food from the Easter basket, there are sour rye soup, meat, pastries, stuffed eggs. Additionally, for dessert, you can eat cheesecake and mazurek (a sweet shortcrust pastry) with caramel or chocolate and decorated with almonds.
In families with smaller children egg hunt might be celebrated, preferably out of doors. There is also a very old tradition of painting the Easter eggs, which are then called pisanki. They are used as decorations and some are very beautiful. Making pisanki is an art in itself.
Wet Monday (Śmigus-Dyngus) is the second bank holiday day after Easter Sunday. On this day you have to beware, traditionally young maidens were only sprinkled with water, but nowadays it’s a serious water battle, and anyone might get wet. Better prepare your water gun.