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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Poland, Lesson 20 - May Weekend
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Poland Series at PolishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Polish holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 20. May Weekend. In Polish, it’s called weekend majowy.
In this lesson, we will discuss the so-called majówka, which consists of two national holidays – Labor Day celebrated on May 1 and the May 3 National Holiday. If the calendar for the given year is favorable, there’s a chance for a long May weekend, during which all kinds of events are held in various cities throughout Poland.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Which event is commemorated by the May 3 National Holiday?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
On May 1, Poles celebrate Labor Day, which has been a public holiday since 1950. During the time of the Polish People's Republic (PRL), from 1952-1989, this was the day of the working class, or klasa pracująca, and was celebrated reverently, with many so-called May 1 marches, demonstrations, and other celebrations, which people were required to attend. However, after the fall of communism, this holiday lost its meaning, and now only a few towns organize small marches or rallies.
The second part of the May weekend is the May 3 National Holiday, which has been celebrated since 1792. In 1946, the communist authorities banned all celebrations of this holiday. If some municipalities ignored this ban and held them anyway, the State would often suppress the celebrations using the militia, or bojówka. Today, many events that take place on this day are connected to Polish history, and individual cities organize all kinds of attractions.
There aren’t many traditional celebrations of these two holidays these days; they are more often associated with the long May weekend, days off from work, and relaxing outside in the fresh air. During this time, cities compete with each other based on the number of attractions they hold, organizing picnics, concerts, performances, exhibitions, fairs, tastings of regional dishes, and reconstructions of historical events. A few well known attractions include the picnic in the Mazovia region, where the region's largest knightly tournament takes place, and the Museum of Battle of Grunwald, where people can watch an International Horseback Archery Competition.
The May weekend is also a great time for camping and having a bonfire with friends; many Poles can’t bear the thought of letting even one sunny weekend go by without a barbecue during summer. The cities swarm with carnivals and beer gardens, which attract large and festive crowds.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Which event is commemorated by the May 3 National Holiday?
The May 3 National Holiday is the commemoration of the adoption of the Polish constitution in 1791, which was the first constitution in modern Europe.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
How do you celebrate Labor Day in your country?
Leave us a comment telling us at PolishPod101.com!
See you next time!