Traditions across Europe-an eTwinning project

“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, TRADITION and myth frame our response.” (Arthur Schlesinger Jr.)

1st May or May Day, formerly Labor Day in Poland May 2, 2008

Filed under: national holidays — ligregni @ 12:53 pm

The banner says: “Poland – a country of people educating themselves”

The tradition of celebrating that day in Poland goes back to 1890. During the communism, after WW2 it was one of the most important national holidays.  On this day May Day marches took place, participation in them was obligatory or encouraged by the possibilty to buy attractive goods difficult to find in Poland in those times. The marches were so much hated that they practically disappeared after the fall of communism.

After 1989 manifestations have still taken place every year and have been organised by left-wing parties and workers’ organisations. Sometimes clashes of extreme right- wing organisations with the demonstrators take place.

The day is free from work and all the students enjoy it primarily for that reason.  They can not remember the marches or what they looked like, it is their parents and grandparents who remember them.

The marches once looked like that, here you can see some students of an upper secondary school

May Day marches today

Gimnazjum nr 18, Poland


One Response to “1st May or May Day, formerly Labor Day in Poland”

  1. Liliana Says:

    My students and I haven’t witnessed those times when they used to organize marches and parades through the streets. It happened before 1989, during “the golden era of Ceausescu” (as they would call it in those times…of course, it wasn’t golden at all for lots of Romanians, although even nowadays there are nostalgic people about those times).
    My parents remember that people had to sing patriotic songs and songs about work and how happy they were to be able to work for their country while they were marching through the city.
    That was also an occasion to glorify Ceausescu, who liked being praised on each and every occasion.
    Nowadays we celebrate this day by going out with our families, because it is a non-working day. And so was the 2nd of May, but only this year because it was on Friday after a non-working day. We don’t have a name for these days which happen to come between a non-working day and the weekend, but I know in Italy they call it “ponte” ( bridge).


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