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Independence Day in Poland

Poland’s National Independence Day marks the anniversary of the country’s independence in 1918. It is celebrated as a nationwide holiday on November 11 each year.

Is Independence Day a Public Holiday?

Independence Day is on Sunday, November 11, 2018 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Poland.

Spectators watch an Independence Day parade in Gdansk, Poland.
Spectators watch an Independence Day parade in Gdansk, Poland.
©iStockphoto.com/nightman1965

What Do People Do?

Ceremonious gatherings and parades are held in Polish towns and cities, including at Pilsudski Square in Warsaw. A change of guards also occurs at midday near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the capital city. Many churches celebrate Independence Day with a special mass. Another highlight is the Race of Independence, which involves thousands of participants.

Public Life

Independence Day is an official public holiday in Poland, so schools, banks, government offices and most private businesses are closed. There is a trade prohibition on public holidays in Poland. People intending to travel via public transport during public holidays must check with the public transit authorities on any changes to time schedules.

Background

Poland regained its independence on November 11, 1918, after 123 years of partitions by Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia. On November 11, 1918, the Polish Military Organization’s secret departments, demobilized soldiers, and legionnaires disarmed the Germans in Warsaw and other Polish towns. The Regency Government appointed Józef Pilsudski as commander in chief over the Polish forces and 3 days later he was given complete civil control. He formed a new centralized government which on November 21 issued key measures including a manifesto of agricultural reforms. Pilsudski also brought in more favorable conditions for the workers and called parliamentary elections.

November 11 was announced a national holiday in 1937. However, it was removed as an official holiday from 1939 to 1989. The holiday was restored in 1989 and has since been a national public holiday.

Symbols

Many houses, buildings, buses and trams display Polish flags on Independence Day. The Polish flag has 2 horizontal stripes of equal width and height – the upper stripe is white and the lower one is red. It was officially recognized in 1919, one year after Poland’s independence was regained.

Independence Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2010ThuNov 11Independence DayNational holiday
2011FriNov 11Independence DayNational holiday
2012SunNov 11Independence DayNational holiday
2013MonNov 11Independence DayNational holiday
2014TueNov 11Independence DayNational holiday
2015WedNov 11Independence DayNational holiday
2016FriNov 11Independence DayNational holiday
2017SatNov 11Independence DayNational holiday
2018SunNov 11Independence DayNational holiday
2019MonNov 11Independence DayNational holiday
2020WedNov 11Independence DayNational holiday

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