The first constitution of modern Europe and second in the world …

konstytucja  Konstytucja_3_Maja1

National 3rd of May Holiday

Anniversary of the First Polish Constitution

On May 3, 1791, the Constitution of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was adopted. It was the first constitution of modern Europe and second in the world, following the American one. It was a significant achievement of the Polish Enlightenment thinkers.

Only two days after the Constitution had been passed by the Grand Sejm [Polish Parliament] (1788-1792), the 3rd of May was established a national holiday, and subsequently it was suspended for a long time due to the country’s partitioning. It was reinstituted after Poland regained its freedom in 1918. After World War II, in 1946, the communist authorities forbade its public celebration, and attempts of manifestations were suppressed by militiamen. In 1951 the holiday was officially cancelled. Since 1990 the 3rd of May Holiday has again been celebrated as an official statutory holiday in Poland, and a red-letter day. Since 2007 it has also been the national holiday of Lithuania.

Particularly solemn atmosphere can be observed during the major 3rd of May Holiday celebrations before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Piłsudski Square in Warsaw. They involve a military parade, volleys, ceremonious change of guards, laying wreaths. Representatives of the top Polish state authorities, military authorities, clergy, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps, veterans, scouts and thousands of Warsaw residents pay tribute to the accomplishment of eminent Poles.

The 3rd of May Holiday is a joyful occasion. Spring events, concerts, family picnics are held throughout Poland. The streets of the Polish capital city see a great number of people running under the slogan “From the 3rd May Constitution to the European Union”.



16 Komentarzy

Filed under Rocznice/ Anniversaries, Rok Polski / The Polish Year, Wielcy Polacy / Great Poles

16 responses to “The first constitution of modern Europe and second in the world …

  1. Wow! This must be a memorable day, then. I wish I were there to witness it all–especially the military parade. Thanks for sharing, Wanda.

    • WM

      Hi, Uzoma! The solemn, colorful and joyful ceremony is very important indeed but I have to mention that a part of Polish society celebrates this day also as the feast of Our Lady Queen of Poland. This tradition is really strong here from 1656, when King John Casimir declared Our Lady of Częstochowa „Queen of Poland”.

      • That’s also nice to know. I’m proud to say I know much more about Poland now than her white-and-red flag. Thanks a lot, Wanda. I love your blog.

  2. I am celebrating with you today! Every time I come for a visit, I learn something new!!!

  3. Very interesting. Thank you Wanda. Do have a lovely weekend. Ralph xox 😀

  4. Congratulations. Good constitutions are important. We got ours in 1814. Celebration newt year.

    • WM

      We got ours ealier but later had a lot of problems. Your country was much happier… Thank you for being here, „bentehaarstad”!

  5. Virginia Duran

    I love to read this „pills” of information! Always interesting. This one especially!

    • WM

      Thank you for being here and commenting, Virginia Duran! Specifically for you I am going to prepare an information about my native town Poznan full of secession buildings. I’ll do it soon 🙂

      • Virginia Duran

        Ha! I am really glad to hear this news. Hope I get the notification. Since I am not in Europe anymore, the time difference is making it hard to follow some blogs. I will really love reading about architecture and history in Poznan! Looking forward to it 🙂


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