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Poles celebrate Flag Day and Day of Polonia

02.05.2024 09:00
With three consecutive holidays right out of the gate, May is a month for celebration for Poles, both those living in the country as well as abroad. 
Poles celebrate Flag Day,  Wrocław, May 2, 2023.
Poles celebrate Flag Day, Wrocław, May 2, 2023.Photo: PAP/Maciej Kulczyński

Sandwiched between two public holidays, May Day and Constitution Day, May 2 is not formally a national holiday.

Rather, it is a bank holiday for some or taken as a day off by many Poles to have an undisturbed leisure time.

Officially, May 2 marks Day of Polonia and Poles living Polish Abroad as well as National Flag Day.

A host of official events is planned on Thursday to celebrate the occasion including the flag hoisting ceremony carried out by the President, followed by his special speech at around noon. 

According to various reports, there are roughly 20 million people of Polish ancestry living outside Poland, making the Polish diaspora one of the largest in the world, as well as one of the most widely dispersed.

In Canada, according the 2016 Census, there are over 1 million people who claim full or partial Polish heritage. The population is widely dispersed across the country. 

Tellingly, May has been recently designated in Canada as Polish Heritage Month. A swathe of events and activities promoting Poland and its traditions are planned to celebrate the occasion.

In the United States, there are an estimated 8.8 million self-identified Polish Americans, representing about 2.7% of the U.S. population, according to the 2021 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Polish Americans are the second-largest Central European ethnic group after German Americans, and the eighth largest ethnic group overall in the United States.

May 2 also marks Polish National Flag Day with various types of patriotic events are palnned across the country.

On this day, Poles are encouraged to display the national red-and-white colours in front of their homes and to make patriotic statements.

However, as Flag Day is a relatively new tradition established in 2004, not everybody choses to do so. 

In recent years, it has become common to wear a national cockade on this day.