Poland is a very prosperous and prime European country situated in Central European region. Being the 6th most populated country of the European Union, it becomes crucial for Poland to preserve its rich cultural heritage today. Since its location is amidst several Latin European countries on one side and Germany on the other, the polish culture, Poland festivals and traditions are all quite confluent with the Latin, German and Byzantine cultures.
The rich cultural heritage of Poland is also somewhat based on its history of over 1000 years which includes partitions, insurrections and the horrendous events of the Second World War. For example, the “All Saints’ Day” is a silent festival observed by the Polish population by visiting the cemeteries of all their friends and family members deceased in various historic tragedies.
But apart from the geographical and historical influence, festivals in Poland are also mainly influenced by the rich bounty of Polish culture, music, theatre, literature, and food. For instance, the “Jewish Culture Festival” celebrated every year in Warsaw consists of 9 days jam-packed with events showcasing the wonders of Polish music, theatre, and literature.
10 Best Festivals In Poland
Following is a list of Poland festivals 2018 along with prospective dates of 2019, to give you a more clear view of Polish Culture and Tradition:
1. The New Year’s Eve Party
New Year’s Eve is celebrated with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm all over the world. Similarly in Poland too, people come together, organize exciting events, family gatherings, parties etc. But the Krakow city of Poland has much more to offer than normal house parties. The biggest open-air New Year’s Eve party in Poland is offered at the RynekGlowny arena of Krakow. The event culminates with a beautiful display of Lights and Laser show at midnight. Earlier, these Poland festivals used to end with beautiful fireworks in the sky but lately that has been replaced by lights and Lazer show to avoid pollution.
Location: RynekGlowny, Krakow &Tauron Krakow Arena, Krakow.
Held On: 1st January 2018 and will be celebrated on 1st January 2019.
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2. Easter Celebrations
In Poland, Easter celebrations start about a week or ten days prior to the Easter Sunday and end on the Easter Monday. Easter celebrations are characterized by the preparation and buying of different kinds of handicrafts. The Krakow Easter markets offer a wide variety of colorful egg-shaped decorations made of ceramic and wooden material. This is because eggs mainly symbolize Easter. Another thing which is emblematic on Easter is the lamb. Thus, Krakow Easter markets also offer lamb shaped edible decorations.
Location: RynekGlowny Central Square, Krakow.
Held On: 23rd March 2018 to 2nd April 2018 and shall be held from 13th April 2019 to 22nd April 2019.
Juwenalia is a Polish term used to describe an annual holiday given to higher education students in Poland. It started in the 15th century in Krakow. This Festival is celebrated every year before the students’ summer exams either in May Or in early June. Juwenalia has a standard format where students in colorful dress code parade at the beginning. The Mayor of the city then hands over the keys to the city’s entry gate to the students. This is a symbolic gesture indicating that for the next three days, there shall be no lectures.
Location: From a University to the Central Square of the city
Held On: 15th May 2018 to 20th May 2018 and in 2019 shall be held around last week of May Orthe first week of June.
4. Baltic Days Of Jewish Culture
The Baltic days of Jewish culture began in June 1999 with a view to promoting the inculcation of Jewish values and preservation of Hebrew culture in the form of Hebrew music, Hebrew literature, Hebrew Poetry, etc. Hebrew works of Art. This is a 2-day event taking place in Gdansk where a number of different concerts, Hebrew lessons, seminars, and exhibitions, public meet and greet with Hebrew Authors and readings of Hebrew poetry takes place. The 2 days Festival is organized and managed by the Social and Cultural Organization of Jews in Poland.
Location: City of Gdansk, Poland.
Held On: The first week of June 2018 and shall be held in the first week of June 2019.
The festival of Wianki traces its origin back to as early as the Before Christ era. Back in time, it is believed that people started to celebrate Wianki to celebrate the occasion of the summer solstice. The rituals followed by ancient people in Wianki festival included jumping over bonfires, fortune telling, couples wandering together in the forest searching for some kind of mythical fern. The festival was originally celebrated alongside Vistula River and is still celebrated there. But the manner of celebrations today includes musical concerts and cultural events followed by a show of beautiful fireworks in the sky.
Location: The Banks of River Vistula along Krakow city.
Held On: 23rd June 2018 and shall be held on 22nd June 2019.
6. Jewish Culture Festival
With about over 250 artists from Poland and from across the world, Jewish culture festival is a lavish grand affair of musical and theatre genres. There are over more than 200 events of Music and theatre organized at this festival every year to promote the Polish culture in music and theatre. The Prozna and the Synagogue Street around the concerned Grzybowski Square in Warsaw became the hub of exciting new talents in music and theatre during this festival. The festival is of the duration of 8-10 days every year. This festival was the most popular among Poland festivals 2018.
Location: Grzybowski Square, Warsaw city of Poland.
Held On: 25th August to 2nd September 2018 and shall be held in last week of June in 2019 (for 8 days only)
7. Saint Dominic’s Fair
This is probably one of Europe’s biggest trade and cultural festivals held in open air. The tradition of this fair finds its roots back to 1260 A.D. The fair consists of a large market area with stalls of attractive accessories and ornaments, food items etc. The festival is not only traded fair but also is culturally packed with musical concerts and theatre shows.
Location: Old Town ‘Andrew V’ of Gdansk, Poland.
Held On: 28th Jul 2018 to 19th Aug 2018 and will be held in 2019 from 27th July to 18th August 2019.
8. Zielona Gora Wine Festival
The festival of Wine in Zielona Gora town is related to the harvesting of Grapes from local Vineyards and from there taking them to breweries to produce wine. The festival took place for the first time in October 1852. Nowadays it takes place in the first or second week of September. It starts on a Saturday and lasts for 9 days. It begins with a parade from the center of the concerned city. After that the Roman wine Gods Bacchus and Maenads are given the keys to the city symbolically. The 9 days of the festival include folklore, music concerts, street theatre, etc.
Location: Zielona Gora Town, Poland.
Held On: 8th September 2018 to 16th September 2018 and shall be held on 7th September 2019 to 15th September 2019.
9. All Saints’ Day
On 1st of November every year, all of the Polish population observe the All Saints’ Day in the memory of their friends and family members whom they lost in the tragic historic events such as the World War II. It is a Silent event wherein people decorate the cemeteries of their near and dear ones with candles and flowers, offer church services and also lighten up the surrounding graveyard. Thus, 1st November 2019 marks a very important day among the Holidays and Festivals in Poland 2019.
Location: Graveyards in all cities of Poland namely Krakow, Gdansk, Poole, Olsztyn, Gliwice, etc.
Held On: 1st November 2018 and shall be conducted on 1st November 2019.
10. Christmas & St. Stephen’s Day
In Poland, Christmas is believed to be a magical time when all the animals that people have hurt can speak and offer forgiveness to them. The next day following Christmas is called as St. Stephen’s Day which extends throughout the year-end and ends in about 10-13 days. People attend church service and after that, they do ceremonious horseback riding to get the blessings of the horse. Some Christians also undergo the stoning drinking ritual.
Location: Churches of all cities in Poland like Krakow, Pole, Olsztyn, etc.
Held On: Christmas on 25th December 2018 and 25th December 2019, while St.Stephen’s Day from 26th December 2018 to 5th January 2018, and 26th December 2019 to a similar date in 2019.
While there are many festivals that Poland celebrates every year, the above list provides you with some of the most unique and important festivals of Poland which you must definitely experience if planning to go to Poland. Some festivals are based on historical events and geographic influences while most of them are based on the cultural delight of Polish music, literature, theatre, etc. So, plan a trip to Europe, head to Poland and witness these festivals for a heartwarming experience!
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