National Independence Day

Each year on 11th of November we celebrate National Independence Day, Polish: Narodowe Święto Niepodległości. It  is a non-working, national day in Poland celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of the restoration of Poland’s sovereignty.

After 123 years of partition by the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and the Habsburg Empire, Poland regain its independence in 1918. Although process of restoration of Poland’s sovereignty was gradual the 11th of November date was chosen as one day for all Poles to celebrate it. On this particular day Marshall Jozef Pilsudski assumed control of Poland. The first time it was observed in 1937. After that due to the war and the change of the political system to communism the holiday was not celebrated until 1989 when it was restored in its original form.

The 11 November date corresponds to other countries’ holidays such as Remembrance Day or Veterans Day. All these holidays are connected as they all emerged from the circumstances at the end of the war. Although in other countries they were mainly established to commemorate those who fought and died during the war, in Poland the spirit of grief is tempered by the fact that Poles regained their independence after so many years of struggle.

Therefore Polish holiday is to celebrate our independence and to pay homage to those who scarified their lives for it.