Spring 2021 in Poland: 6 public holidays, time change, shopping Sundays, observances & celebrations
- March 8
Women’s Day (Dzień Kobiet)
The tradition of Women’s Day is not as popular as during communism time in Poland, but still, women usually get flowers or other gifts.
- March 10
Men’s Day (Dzień Mężczyzny)
In Poland, Boy’s Day and Men’s Day are celebrated – Boy’s Day (September 30) is a much more popular holiday than Men’s Day.
- March 17
St. Patrick’s Day (Dzień Świętego Patryka)
Poland also celebrates St. Patrick’s Day – people wear green, there are parades, festivals, concerts.
- March 21
Truant’s Day / Skip Day (Dzień Wagarowicza)
The first day of spring (in 2021, the first day of astronomical spring falls on March 20). The old Polish folk tradition of the first day of spring is to drown Marzanna (a straw figure of a woman symbolizing winter) in the nearest river (nowadays mostly in rural areas and by children at schools). For children, the first day of spring is a Truant’s Day / Skip Day (Dzień Wagarowicza). Some students skip classes but usually, it’s just a special fun day at school – students dress up in a funny way, schools organize competitions and games, there are no tests on this day. Click here to read more about the weather in Poland in spring.
- March 28
Time change (zmiana czasu)
On Sunday, March 28 2021 at 02:00 am clocks are turned forward 1 hour to 03:00 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. The national governments have yet to take a stance – the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the issue of changing the time into the background.. Click here to learn more about time change in Poland.
Palm Sunday (Niedziela Palmowa)
It starts the Easter celebrations. There are processions around the church to commemorate the day Jesus entered Jerusalem. People bring „palms” (palmy wielkanocne) made of paper flowers, dried flowers, and twigs. Click here to learn more about Easter traditions in Poland.
- April 1
April Fools’ Day (Prima Aprilis)
A day of pranks and jokes. Don’t trust anyone;) Including Polish media which also participates in the celebrations with lots of fabricated stories.
- April 2
Good Friday (Wielki Piątek)
Good Friday commemorates passion and crucifixion of Jesus. In major cities in Poland, there are processions on the streets – people carrying a huge cross and contemplating passion of Jesus. In Poland, for many people, it’s a day of fasting – no meat, no parties, no alcohol.
- April 3
Holy Saturday (Wielka Sobota)
People bring to churches baskets (called in Polish święconka) filled with food to get a special blessing. Baskets usually include eggs as a symbol of rebirth (pisanki – boiled eggs painted in various colors and patterns), bread, salt, sausage, sometimes other food – chocolate, cake, horseradish etc. Food from święconka basket is shared the next morning during festive Easter breakfast. Click here to learn more about Easter traditions in Poland.
- April 4
Easter Day (Wielkanoc)
A public/bank holiday in Poland. Easter Sunday commemorates the resurrection of Jesus. Many people in Poland start the day with 6 am morning mass (Rezurekcja). The key event of a day – a family breakfast that starts with eating Święconka, then żurek soup (also known as white barszcz), bigos, sausage with horseradish, mazurek cake. Public institutions, stores, malls, shopping centers closed, only some smaller local convenience stores can be open and stores at gas stations. Click here to learn more about Easter traditions in Poland.
- April 5
Easter Monday (Poniedziałek Wielkanocny), “Wet Monday” (Lany Poniedziałek)
A public/bank holiday in Poland. Śmigus dyngus – an old tradition in Poland in which people use buckets (kids usually play with water guns) to soak each other with water. It’s safe to stay home on Wet Monday and avoid street water fights;) Another Easter Monday tradition is to beat legs with willow branch or Palms (the ones used for Palm Sunday). Public institutions, stores, malls, shopping centers closed, only some smaller local convenience stores can be open and stores at gas stations. Click here to learn more about Easter traditions in Poland.
- April 19
Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (1943) and the Daffodils Campaign
The major celebrations of the anniversary of the uprising in the Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Warsaw are held each year at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes and POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. POLIN Museum created the Daffodils (żonkile) Campaign to commemorate the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Every year on April 19th, hundreds of volunteers hand out paper daffodils to raise awareness of the uprising and its significance (Marek Edelman, the last leader of the Uprising, before his death in 2009, used to lay daffodils at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes every anniversary). Click here to read our tips in English on visiting the POLIN Museum, and here to read about visiting the POLIN Museum with children. Click here to read more in English about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
- May 1
A public/bank holiday in Poland. Stores are closed. Only some smaller local convenience stores can be open. Stores at gas stations are open every day, 24 h. Usually, in Warsaw and other major cities in Poland, there are political marches to promote workers rights.
- May 2
A regular working day in Poland (Sunday in 2021). It’s a relatively new holiday in Poland (introduced in 2004). You can notice Polish flags in some private windows and balconies as well as displayed in public institutions buildings.
- May 3
A public/bank holiday in Poland. The May 3rd Constitution was passed in 1791 and is claimed to be the first written constitution in Europe and second one in the world (after the American one). Usually, the Constitution Day is celebrated with speeches, military parades, picnics, however, this year due to the COVID-19 lockdown in Poland, all events are prohibited.
- May 23
Whit Sunday / Pentecost / Zielone Świątki
A public/bank holiday in Poland (always on Sunday anyway). The Day of Descent of the Holy Spirit – Zielone Świątki (Green Holidays). In Poland, some people decorate their homes with branches with green leaves.
- May 26
It is a day when you visit or call your mum, send her a card, flowers or other gifts. Father’s Day in Poland is celebrated on June 23.
- June 1
Kids receive gifts. Schools and kindergartens host special events for kids – picnics, concerts, games, sports competitions, etc. There are many events for children organized all over Poland by the city authorities, institutions, theaters, restaurants.
- June 3
Corpus Christi / Boże Ciało
A public/bank holiday in Poland. Stores, malls, shopping centers are closed. Only some smaller local convenience stores can be open and stores at gas stations. The Catholic church organizes in each parish huge outdoor procession (in many places in Poland traffic is stopped during the processions). The procession stops at four altars temporary built on the streets. Girls dressed in white scatter flower petals. The altars are decorated with birch-tree twigs which can be later taken home and are kept the whole year to protect a family.
- June 21
The astronomical first day of summer
Meteorologically speaking, summer begins on June 22. The beginning of astronomical summer is also the longest day of the year. The sun will rise at 4.14 am and the sunset will start at 9 pm. Click here to read more about the weather in Poland in spring.
- June 23
St. John’s Night / Wreaths (Noc Świętojańska / Wianki)
The holiday has a pagan background (a pagan name is Sobótka meaning fire). Nowadays, it is mostly the opportunity to celebrate midsummer with various festivities, including concerts, singing songs, bonfire jumping. Women wear wildflower wreaths that later are thrown into river or pond.
It’s not as loudly celebrated as Mother’s Day, however, each mother makes sure that children at least hug their father;)
- June 25
End of the school year in Polish schools
The last day of the school year is celebrated with speeches, concerts, shows. Teachers get flowers. Parents of younger kids usually take a day or a few hours off to participate in the ceremonies. In 2021, the school year will resume on September 1. Click here to read our post about summer and winter school breaks in Poland.
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