Being a native Pole, I know all about the Polish Holidays. Some days are widely celebrated across the country, some are just marked in the calendar and no one even cares about them. In this post, I am giving you the complete list of bank holidays in Poland and Polish celebrations that everyone should know about.
Here’s the calendar of and dates of the most important Polish celebrations:
Polish Holidays in January
Nowy Rok (New Year’s Day)
January, 1st is a bank holiday in Poland – all the shops are closed and there is literally nothing happening in the country. Everybody stays at home to cure the hangover after the New Year’s Eve celebrations. About 90% of Poles are Christians, so the only reason people are leaving the house is to go to church.
This is one of the few Polish bank holidays that is not unique to Poland – everyone around the world celebrates this day in some form or another! That said, there are so many interesting Polish New Year traditions that make this holiday special. One of them is a superstition that the first person who steps into the house should be a man. This is supposedly the only way to have luck in the upcoming year. It’s really funny – my mom asks my grandfather to visit her every New Year’s morning just to have luck in the upcoming year!
Trzech Króli (Epiphany)
Ephiphany is another bank holiday Poland that is strongly connected with religion. For Poland’s closest neighbors – Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus – all of whom are primarily Orthodox Christian, this signifies the beginning of ‘Christmas’. For Poles, it’s the end of celebrating Christ’s birth.
Trzech Króli is one of the public holidays Poland, so all the shops are closed. In most cities, you can see a parade of the people dressed like kings. The parade in Warsaw is especially large.
Poland Holidays in February
Tłusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday Poland)
Who doesn’t love donuts? Poles have a special holiday that is dedicated only to these special treats! It’s a Fat Thursday Polish tradition to eat as many donuts as possible (guiltfree). The more you eat, the better.
Tlusty Czwartek always precedes the Ash Wednesday. It’s the last day to eat junk food before Lent when people should be fasting.
Poles are not THAT religious nowadays and hardly anyone fasts. Everybody loves eating donuts though, so you need to have at least two of them on Fat Thursday in Poland. I have to admit, it’s one of my favorite Polish traditions.
Środa Popielcowa (Ash Wednesday)
As I mentioned before, Środa Popielcowa is the beginning of Lent. There are two days in the Polish calendar when you should REALLY be fasting. One of them is Ash Wednesday and the other is Good Friday.
Most people also go to church to pray and have ash placed on their heads. As you may know, Ash Wednesday precedes Easter by 40 days, so on this day, you can start your countdown to Easter in Poland.
Polish Holidays in March & April
Dzień Kobiet (Women’s Day Poland)
Women’s day in Poland is widely celebrated. This is definitely one of my favorite holidays (just take a look at the photo below).
March, 8th is a day when every woman gets LOTS of flowers and chocolates.
Not only from her boyfriend, partner, or husband but also from other family members and coworkers. Kids even celebrate it at school, so the little girls get tulips or roses from their peers. How awesome is that?
Pierwszy Dzień Wiosny (The First Day Of Spring)
The first day of the spring is mostly celebrated by school kids. They usually have a free day to make a human-size doll called Marzanna. Then they are throwing her away to the nearby river, as a way to say goodbye to the winter and to welcome the spring.
If you want to read more about this awesome Slavic tradition, read this article.
Easter is one of the most important Polish religious holidays. This day is usually dedicated to family reunions and meeting with friends. Wielkanoc officially starts on Great Sunday, but the week before is very important as well. When you spend Easter in Poland traditions will become evident. We pray on Maundy Thursday, fast on Good Friday and bless food and water on Holy Saturday.
Every family eats a festive breakfast on Great Sunday morning. People share eggs and wish each other health, luck, and prosperity. If you want to spend your spring in Poland, Easter is a great time to come – you will eat lots of delicious food and have fun playing games!
There are many awesome Easter traditions in Poland. The day that all the kids are waiting for is Śmigus Dyngus– Wet Monday. It’s like Songkran in Thailand: everybody has fun by throwing water over each other. Be careful! If you are in Poland during Easter, you may get wet!
Poland Holidays in May
If you wonder what is the first Polish holiday after Easter, it’s always Weekend Majowy. Crowds are literally everywhere, so the beginning of May is not the best time to visit Poland. Many people take the day off before or after weekend majowy to have a longer vacation. Almost everybody is traveling somewhere! The Bieszczady mountains, the Tatra mountains, and the Baltic sea are full of people.
May, 1st is a leftover from the communist times. It’s International Workers Day and, ironically, nobody works then. It is actually a day to relax and Poles love it! May, 2nd is a normal day, but May, 3rd is another national holiday: Polish Constitution Day. It’s when Poles are celebrating the declaration of the constitution in 1791.
The first days of May are usually sunny, so Weekend Majowy is like the beginning of summer for most Polish people.
Dzień Matki (Mother’s Day Poland)
May, 26th is a very important day – it’s when Mother’s Day in Poland is celebrated. The best gifts for moms are flowers and chocolates.
Mother’s Day Poland is widely celebrated across the country, you can hear about it in the news and on the radio. Family is really important to most of the Poles, and obviously, mothers are playing a big part of it.
Polish Holidays in June
Dzień Dziecka (Children’s Day)
All the kids are waiting for June, 1st because they get sweets from their family members.
What’s interesting is that it’s very popular for children to get gifts from mom’s and dad’s workplace. This is usually a bag of chocolates, candies and other goodies that every child loves.
Dzień Ojca (Father’s Day)
Father’s Day Poland is celebrated on June 23rd. It’s usually when the school year ends, which is why it’s a little bit less celebrated than Mother’s Day.
Boże Ciało (Corpus Christi)
Boże Ciało is a movable feast, celebrated on Thursday that falls 60 days after Easter. It’s always between May 21st and June 24th.
Corpus Christi is one of the Poland national holidays. Processions of people who are praying and praising God are easy to notice all across the country. Little girls are throwing flowers on the street and boys are ringing the bells.
Poland Holidays in July, August, September, and October
Wniebowzięcie Najświętszej Maryji Panny (Assumption of Mary)
August, 15th has recently become one of the national holidays Poland and a day free of work.
It’s another religious celebration – people pray to Mary, mother of Jesus, on this day.
There is nothing really going on in the country, it’s just a day where all the shops are closed.
Polish Holidays in November
Wszystkich Świętych (All Saints’ Day Poland)
Americans have Halloween and Poles have All Saints’ Day. This is a national holiday and a day dedicated to those who have passed away. People visit the cemeteries, light candles and leave flowers on the graves of their loved ones. It’s also very popular to attend mass at the cemetery.
Aside from remembering the dead, All Saints’ Day Poland is a time to reconnect with the family. People usually come back to their hometowns and spend time with people they haven’t seen for a long time.
Święto Niepodległości (Independence Day)
November, 11th is a Polish Independence Day, so it is obviously one of the bank holidays Poland. It’s a very important day – on Nov 11th, 1918, Poland became a country again after 123 years of Russian and German slavery.
There’s another great event this day that is celebrated only in Poznan. It’s a rogale świętomarcińskie festival. What are rogale świętomarcińskie? They are delicious croissants filled with marzipan.
If you want to read more about them check out our post about the interesting facts about Poznan. All in all, Independence Day Poland is our most celebrated non-religious holiday.
Poland Holidays in December
Mikołajki (Santa’s Day)
Did you know that Santa comes to Poland on December, 6th? The gifts on Christmas Day are actually brought by an Angel or a Star.
Mikołajki is usually celebrated in schools and kindergartens. Some families also celebrate at home.
It’s sad, but Poland is getting more and more Americanized. December, 6th is becoming an ordinary day and kids start to believe that Santa brings gifts only on Christmas Eve.
Święta Bożego Narodzenia (Christmas)
Christmas is definitely the biggest Polish holiday! The celebrations are long and pompous. They actually start at the beginning of December and last until the beginning of January
There is so much to tell about it that I’ve written a separate post about it: All You Need to Know About Chrismas in Poland.
Sylwester (New Year’s Eve)
Poles call New Year’s Eve Sylwester, because Sylwesters celebrate their name day on December, 31st. (Yes! Poles celebrate not only birthdays but also name days. For more interesting facts about Poland, keep reading and check out this post).
New Year’s Eve is celebrated in Poland like anywhere else in the world – some people go to restaurants, some stay at home and some go to big events.
Check out best tours in Poland:
Polish Holidays throughout the year
Poland Name Day
We’ve reached the end of our list, but there is one celebration we mentioned that doesn’t fall during a particular month and isn’t limited to a particular day. How can this be so? Maybe we should call it Names Day Poland or Name Days Poland – because it implies there is just one name we celebrate on just one day! However, we do celebrate names like we celebrate birthdays, so this holiday happens every day throughout the year, but each day is for different names.
Name day in Poland means that everyone with a particular name celebrates on the same day! For example, on April 26th, every girl with the name Marzena celebrates her name day. However, since we celebrate name day in Poland every day, this obviously means it’s not one of our Polish bank holidays – to understand what that would mean, imagine birthdays being national holidays! There would be no work happening!
If this reason isn’t enough to travel to Poland, check out our post called Top Reasons You Should Travel to Poland and we are sure you’ll be booking your tickets to Poland soon.
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