13 public holidays
There are thirteen public holidays in Poland each year (holidays which are legally considered to be non-working days); however there are many other special days in the calendar – in fact it seems that everyone has their own special day at times – ranging from Police Day to Dog’s Day.
Note that Catholic religious holidays are widely observed in Poland. Stores, malls, restaurants, doctors and dentists are likely to be closed or have very limited business hours on Easter, All Saints Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas.
New Year’s Day
The first of the public holidays in Poland is New Year’s Day, also simply called New Year or New Year’s and is observed on January 1, the first day of the year.
Epiphany, commonly known as Three Kings’ Day is on January 6. It celebrates the three wise men’s visit to baby Jesus and also remembers his baptism, according to the Christian Bible’s events.
Easter, a moveable feast that happens in March or April. Like Christmas, it is primarily a meaningful Christian holiday. On the Saturday before Easter, churches offer special services in anticipation of the holiday, including blessing of food; children especially like to attend these services, bringing small baskets of painted eggs and candy to be blessed. On Easter Sunday itself, practicing Catholics go to the morning mass, followed by a celebratory breakfast made of foods blessed the day before. On Easter Sunday, shops, malls, and restaurants are commonly closed – Further information
Lany Poniedziałek, or Śmigus Dyngus
Lany Poniedziałek, or Śmigus Dyngus, is the Monday after Easter, and also a holiday. It’s the day of an old tradition with pagan roots: groups of kids and teens wandering around, looking to soak each other with water. Often groups of boys will try to catch groups of girls, and vice versa; but innocent passers-by are not exempt from the game, and are expected to play along. Common ‘weapons’ include water guns and water balloons, but children, especially outdoors and in the countryside, like to use buckets and have no mercy on passers-by – Further information
May 1st – This holiday is officially called State Holiday (Święto Państwowe). However, it is unofficially called Labor Day, and coincides with International Workers’ Day. It is also EU Accession Day marking the 2004 accession of Poland as a member of the European Union.
Constitution Day falls on May 3rd, in remembrance of the Constitution of May 3rd, 1791. The document itself was a highly progressive attempt at political reform, and it was Europe’s first constitution (and world’s second, after the US). Following the partitions, the original Constitution became a highly poignant symbol of national identity and ideals. Today, May 3rd is a national holiday, often combined with the May 1 (Labor Day) into a larger celebration.
7th Sunday after Easter. As this holiday always falls on a Sunday, it is not widely known that it is considered a non-working day.
9th Thursday after Easter. This is a Catholic church Holiday.
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 15 – This is also Polish Armed Forces Day (Święto Wojska Polskiego), celebrating the battle of Warsaw in 1920.
All Saints Day
All Saints Day (Wszystkich Świętych), 1st of November. In the afternoon and evening, people visit graves of their relatives and light candles. After dusk cemeteries glow with thousands of lights and offer a very picturesque scene. If you have the chance, be sure to visit a cemetery to witness the holiday. Many restaurants, malls, and stores will either be closed or close earlier than usual on this holiday – Further information
National Independence Day
National Independence Day (Narodowe Święto Niepodległości) is one of the most important public holidays in Poland and is celebrated every year on 11 November to commemorate Poland’s independence in 1918, after 123 years of partitions and occupation by Austria-Hungary, Germany and Russia. As with most other holidays, many businesses will be closed on this day.
Second Day of Christmas
Make your descent to 64 meters below the surface of Krakow for a guided tour of one of the most popular World Heritage sites in Poland. Wander through chambers, see underground lakes, shrines and salty monuments in one of the oldest UNESCO-listed salt mines!