Freedom, liberty, kielbasa and dancing Highlanders: Polish Constitution Day

PolishfestivalWe spent the weekend celebrating May 3rd/Polish Constitution Day. We went to a very small lawn program at the House of Poland at Balboa Park where we watched a Polish Highlander’s folk dancing group, Tatry, perform. Although it wasn’t much, I wanted to take my son to the event, especially since Polish events are few and far between where we live. Plus, I needed my Polish folk music fix. And kiełbasa. And pączki. And it is always nice to hear one’s native language.

The Polish May 3rd Constitution of 1791 was the first democratic constitution in Europe, and second in the world (with the U.S. constitution being first). It established the separation of the three branches of government, thus limiting the power of the King, and promoted tolerance, freedom, and liberty.

Since its signing, the May 3rd Constitution has served as a symbol of hope for an independent society/country during Poland’s tumultuous and trying history of being occupied by foreign powers. The day is a national civic holiday in Poland, and its importance is equivalent to what July 4/Independence Day is to Americans.