Autumn in Poland: time change, 2 public holidays, observances, and celebrations
- September 1
Commemoration of the anniversary of the outbreak of World War II
September 1, 2020 marks the 81st anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. The main official 2020 commemoration event will take place on the Westerplatte peninsula, next to Gdańsk, where one of the first battles took place, marking the beginning of World War II in Europe.
The first day of school at Polish schools
The event includes short formal ceremonies (it’s not a regular full school day so parents may need to take a day off). The school year in Poland is divided into 2 terms: the winter term (pierwszy semestr) and the summer term (drugi semestr). While the first and last days of school are set the same for all of Poland (the last day of school in Poland in 2021: June 25), the winter break (ferie zimowe) times differ for each Polish province/voivodship. Our post covers winter 2021 school breaks dates in Poland by voivodships. You will find updates regarding schools and covid in Poland in our post: weekly updates on the coronavirus regulations in Poland.
- September 23
The first day of autumn
The astronomical (the autumnal equinox – the sun is directly over the equator) first day of autumn in Poland in 2020 falls on September 22 and the meteorological first day of autumn on September 23. After the autumnal equinox, the days in Poland get shorter and the nights get longer until the winter solstice on December 21 – the first day of winter and the day with the fewest hours of sunlight in Poland in the whole year. Read more about the weather, changes in nature, seasonal fruits and vegetables in Poland in September, October & November.
- September 30
Boy’s Day (Dzień Chłopaka)
This holiday in Poland is the equivalent of Women’s Day, which is celebrated in Poland on March 8. On Boy’s Day, ladies give their loved ones (younger and older) a gift or prepare another surprise.
- October 14
Teachers’ Day in Poland (Dzień Nauczyciela)
In Polish schools, there are no regular classes on this day. Students give teachers flowers and/or other gifts. Usually, there is the inauguration event for first-grade students (called in Polish ślubowanie) and older kids either do not go to school or have some fun activities.
- October 25
Time change (zmiana czasu)
On Sunday night, October 25, at 03:00 am clocks are turned backward 1 hour to 02:00 am. The European Union lawmakers decided to end the twice-a-year (March and October) custom of time changes throughout the European Union, leaving member states the freedom to decide their standard time. In Poland, consultations were carried out on changing the time – 78 percent of Poles are in favor of not changing clocks. The government data shows that most Poles prefer summer time. It is not yet known whether the last time change in Poland will take place in 2021 – there are no new legal regulations yet. Click here to find out more in our post about the time changes in Poland.
- October 31
Halloween celebrations are relatively new in Poland. A few years ago, it was almost impossible to buy a pumpkin this time of year in Poland! Now pumpkin carving and pumpkin decorations are more and more popular at Polish schools and homes. In bars and restaurants in Poland, there are themed Halloween parties for adults and costume parties for kids at schools. More and more children in Poland dress up in costumes for Halloween and travel from house to house playing trick or treat (in Polish: cukierek albo psikus).
- November 1
A public/bank holiday in Poland – All Saints’ Day (Wszystkich Świętych)
It’s a Christian holiday. In Poland, it’s also called the Day of the Dead (Święto Zmarłych) and is deeply rooted in the Polish tradition – the holiday is observed by many people in Poland, regardless of their faith and beliefs. People visit cemeteries to light candles and lay flowers on the graves of their family and friends. Often they travel long distances, in general, there is increased traffic, especially close to the biggest cemeteries. November 1 is a non-working day in Poland – schools, public institutions, most businesses and stores are closed. Shopping on November 1: stores, malls, shopping centers are closed, only some smaller local convenience stores can be open (eg. Żabka). You can always do basic shopping at gas stations (which are open 24/7).
- November 11
A public/bank holiday in Poland – Independence Day (Święto Niepodległości)
The anniversary of the restoration of Poland’s independence in 1918. After 123 years (from the end of the 18th century until the end of World War I) of partitions by Austria, Russia, and Prussia Poland regained its independence. The national celebrations are usually held in Warsaw, at Piłsudski Square, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with the participation of the President of Poland, other leaders and officials, and representatives of the Polish Armed Forces.
- November 29
St. Andrew’s Day Eve (Andrzejki)
It was believed that the night of November 29 and November 30 is suitable for magic and single girls can see their future (and their future husbands). Nowadays, it’s an opportunity for big parties and a night for future telling games. The classic one is to pour hot liquid wax through a keyhole into cold water. After the wax is solidified, the shape and its shadow illuminated on the wall determines your future. The fun is to interpret the shape. Another tradition is a shoe game. Participants take off one shoe, the shoes are lined one after the other from the wall of the room to the door. The owner of the shoe that reaches the door first is the first to get married:)
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