In this post, I gathered knowledge about all most popular Public Holidays in Poland. Below list of subjects covered in in my post:
- Most common Holidays in Poland and when do they occur?
- Which Holidays are giving additional Day Off (Bank Holiday)?
- What are the polish traditions related with specific Holiday?
- How to plan my Annual Leave or Vacation including holidays more efficiently.
- Bonus: “Imieniny”
First clarification at the very beginning: Public Holidays means exactly the same as Bank Holidays in other part of a Europe. As we have this covered, let’s start with the table of the dates and explaining polish holidays from labor law perspective.
Public Holidays in Poland aka. Bank Holidays
Green Color means the Holidays where the date is moveable on yearly base and it does depend on 1st Easter Day which is ending the 40 days of Lent.
Blue Color shows Holidays which occur on Sunday, what means that this holiday does not allow us to obtain additional day off. We will get back to it, as I will explain the way to plan your Vacation including Holidays.
Almost all of the days mentioned above are giving you additional Day Off. These days are treated as Sunday, which means, that all of the shops and offices supposed to be closed. I said almost, since days marked with Orange Color are officially working days, which are anyway very important for polish community. For example Christmas Eve in Poland has definitely much more traditions then 1st and 2nd Christmas days together 😉 The dinner that day is also very important for polish people. This way I would like to introduce second table, which contains short description about mentioned Holidays.
|Holiday Name||Polish Translation||Comment|
|New Year Day||Nowy Rok||New Year – official hangover day. There is no need to explain it more here.|
|Three Kings Day / Epiphany||Trzech Króli||It commemorates the presentation of the infant Jesus to the three wise men. It is a official day off in Poland.|
|Easter||Niedziela Wielkanocna||Easter – Official day of Jesus Resurrection. Families are eating official breakfast from Easter baskets. Kids are looking for Easter Eggs.|
|Easter Monday||Poniedziałek Wielkanocny||2nd Easter Day – so called “Wet Monday” (Lany Poniedziałek or Śmigus Dyngus). Accordingly with Polish tradition, people are pouring water on each other, what supposed to bring luck and health. In practice it is more about fun and joy.|
|Labour Day||Państwowe Święto Pracy||International Worker Day|
|Constitution Day||Święto 3-ciego Maja||Poland’s constitution was the first constitution in Europe (1791) and second in the world – the American constitution (1789), being the oldest.|
|Mother’s Day||Dzień Matki||It is not an official day off, but a day celebrated by almost everyone in Poland. Adults are visiting own mothers and kids are performing shows at schools.|
|Pentecost Sunday||Zielone Swiątki||This is a day that commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames to the Apostles and other followers of Jesus.|
|Corpus Christi||Dzień Bożego Ciała||Corpus Christi means the Body of Christ and refers to the elements of the Eucharist.|
|Father’s Day||Dzień Ojca||As in case of Mother Day – not official day off, but worth remembering, especially if you would need to reserve a day to visit your little “troublemaker” at school performance.|
|Assumption Day||Wniebowzięcie Najświętszej Maryi Pańskiej||Called as well: “Dormition of the Virgin Mary”. No unique traditions in here. Day off for celebrating anyhow we want it.|
|All Saint’s Day||Wszystkich Świętych||Day dedicated for our loved ones, who left us already. Polish people are visiting graves of deceased in order to commemorate them, light candles and pray.|
|Independence Day||Dzień Niepodległości||Independence Day in Poland commemorates the re-establishment of the state of Poland at on 1918. Mostly this day is used for family meetings. Bigger cities are organizing concerts, parades or even firework display.|
St. Stephen’s Day
Wigilia Bożego Narodzenia
Pierwszy Dzień Bożego Narodzenia
Drugi Dzień Bożego Narodzenia
|Christmas Eve officially starts Christmas. Despite the fact, that Christams Eve is not official bank holiday, families are decorating Christmas trees and preparing the dinner, which accordingly with tradition, supposed to contain 12 different dishes. After the dinner, people are opening presents from under Christmas tree and attend the Mass at 12 midnight. Next days (25th & 26th) are dedicated for family reunions and spending time with closest people. People are traveling a lot, in order to visit also distant relatives.|
As you may see, Polish Holidays are coming from Christian tradition, what doesn’t change the fact, that local community enjoy more and more traditions from the west. For example Valentine’s Day on 14th of February, Women Day at 8th of March or Men Day on 10th of March. Situation with Halloween is slightly more complicated, since “All Saints: in Poland are rather days which conducive to silence. Anyway, the scenario in which youth visits graves with parents and after that goes on Halloween party seems to be more and more popular.
Coming back to planning the Vacation or Annual Leave.
Bank Holidays mentioned above are official days off. This means, that you can plan your holiday using them as fully paid vacation. Although, there is one important thing here, worth mentioning. On the base of polish laborer law, if Bank Holiday occurs on Saturday we can use it as Compensatory Off day – which means that your employer needs to give you this time back (to be specific: 8 working hours) to use as day off. I will take as an example May 2021:
I used in a table above two abbreviations: BH – Bank Holiday and CO – Compensatory Off. As we have definitions clarified, allow me to explain what happened here. Bank Holiday on Saturday got transferred in to Compensatory Off, which was used on Tuesday. This means, that we have 9 days off in a row, but only 4 days will be deducted from our yearly annual leave entitlement. Smart, isn’t ?
Let’s reconsider another option, when you need to work on 3rd May, which is Monday:
In such case, 3rd May gets transferred in to Compensatory off as in case of 1st of May. In example above I showed a case, when both CO’s are used the same week – Thursday and Friday. This results with 4 days off in a row with nothing deducted from your yearly annual leave entitlement balance.
Off course it can’t be that simple. There are few rules related with whole system of Public Holidays and Compensatory Off days:
- Sundays are never transferred in to CO’s. If BH falls on Sunday, we can not recover this day as CO.
- For work on a public holiday, the employee is entitled to a full day off, also if the employee worked only one or few hours.
- If it turns out that it is not possible for the employee to use the day off until the end of the reference period, the employee’s additional remuneration is supplemented with the remuneration for the period of 100% for each hour on the holiday.
Art. 15111. KP (Labor Code Art. 15111.)Source
Reference period in here does depend on internal rules of your employer – in majority of the cases, employer prefers to allow you compensate your time as a day off, then pay it out with 100% bonus 😉 Anyway – this is something worth clarifying, before you start planning your vacation.
Imieniny is a name day – tradition in Poland of celebrating a day of the year that is associated with one’s given name. The celebration is similar to a birthday, in some of the cases may be even louder and more sumptuous than the birthday – this does depend on personal approach. Below you may find a link to very simple page with search box for names and their Imieniny. You might want to surprise your second half or polish mate with wishes for his or her day of the name 😊
One important information here: name day is celebrated on the first day after the birthday. Taking example of Anna (one of the most popular names), who was born on 14th February (14 Lutego), she will celebrate her Imieniny on 27th of February.
Summary of Public Holidays in Poland
That would be all for this post – I hope I didn’t push your patient to the limit with amount of the text provided here. Plan your vacation in advance, since every single one of us needs to recharge the battery from time to time.
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