After long winter months, nature is waking up to life at an astounding pace. Birds chirping, trees blossoming, bees buzzing, sun shining, clouds sailing the blue sky slowly… doesn’t it make you want to grab a blanket, pack your picnic basket and forget about the everyday rush? Well, that’s how millions of Poles feel about it. Luckily, there’s majówka /mah-yoof-kah/.
Generally, the term majówka refers to going on spring trips away from your home, outside of the city. Picnics, walks and spending time in the bosom of nature. But more specifically, people use it to talk about the end of April and the first days of May, a very busy time in the field Polish tourism. Millions of people pack their bags and together with their friends and family they set off to travel the country. Luckily, there’s always a long weekend at the beginning of May that allows them to do so.
On 1st May we celebrate the International Workers’ Day and two days later we have a national holiday to celebrate the 3rd May Constitution Day. Most Polish people don’t work on these days. What is more, 2nd May is the National Flag Day and there are no lessons at schools. If you are lucky and all of these days fall on weekdays, by taking just three days off work, you can extend your weekend to as much as… nine days! Tempting, isn’t it?
People usually choose to spend majówka in their cabins or stay at hotels that are located close to nature, by rivers or lakes, in the middle of the wood. They enjoy their free time with their family and friends. One could say that barbecuing during majówka has almost become a national sport. You will see barbecues in almost every backyard and garden. Grilled sausages and chuck steaks dominate the tables.
Even if one prefers staying in the city, there’s definitely no room for being bored. 3rd of May celebrations include parades, public figure speeches, concerts and exhibitions. Reading the constitution preamble, cannon salvos, singing patriotic songs and a military parade are always a part of the official festivities. The 3rd May Constitution is considered to be one of the greatest achievements in the history of Poland.
The 3rd May National Holiday has a long tradition. It has been celebrated (with breaks) since 1792. It was banned during the partitions of Poland and had to wait until 1919 to be officially celebrated again. It was also banned by the Nazis and the Soviets. After the fall of communism, it was restored as a national holiday.
To all of you who are on your way to Poland at the moment, we wish you a pleasant and relaxing majówka! And those of you who still haven’t made up your minds, join us on majówka next year. Poland is breathtakingly beautiful at this time of the year, so we are sure you won’t regret it.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to start packing our majówka bags...