May 3rd Constitution Day in Poland
May 3rd Constitution Day is a Polish national and public holiday that takes place on May 3rd. In 2017 it will be the holidays 226 anniversary.
The holiday celebrates the declaration of the Constitution of May 3, 1791. Festivities date back to the Duchy of Warsaw early in the 19th century, but it became an official holiday only in 1919 in the Second Polish Republic. Delisted during the times of the People's Republic of Poland, it was reestablished after the fall of communism in modern Poland.
The Constitution of May 3, 1791 is considered one of the most important achievements in the history of Poland. The constitution sought to supplant the prevailing anarchy fostered by some of the country's magnates with a more democratic constitutional monarchy. It introduced elements of political equality between townspeople and nobility, and placed the peasants under the protection of the government, thus mitigating the worst abuses of serfdom. It banned parliamentary institutions such as the liberum veto, which had put the Sejm at the mercy of any deputy who could revoke all the legislation that had been passed by that Sejm.
The 3rd May anniversary of its adoption has been observed as Poland's most important civil holiday since Poland regained independence in 1918. Its importance for the Polish people has been compared to that of July 4 to the Americans.
On that day, there are many events being held in cities all over the country commemorating the declaration of the Constitution. For example, in Warsaw local tour guides will dress in historical costumes and assume roles of the most important characters from that period. They will lead the walk around the most important sites related to the May 3rd Constitution and everyone is welcome to join free of charge.
At the Theatre Square in Warsaw, crowds will gather to sing together Polish patriotic songs and hymns. All of these events are part of the annual "Vivat Maj, 3 Maj" festivities.