One third of Poles see their Independence Day, celebrated on 11 November, as the most important national holiday.
The holiday marks the anniversary of Poland regaining independence in 1918, after more than 100 years of the so-called partitions, when Polish territory was under the rule of Austria, Prussia and Russia.
The poll conducted by Homo Homini institute found that Independence Day is the most popular of national holidays, with 33 percent of the respondents saying it is the most important one.
The 3 May anniversary of Poland’s first constitution in 1791 came second in the poll, with one-fourth of Poles seeing it as most important.
Political scientist Jacek Kloczkowski told the Rzeczpospolita daily that Poles seem to prefer holidays that mark success in the nation’s history and historical moments that are not subject to political debate today.
In recent years, however, Independence Day has seen clashes on the streets as nationalists clash with police and ‘anti-fascist’ demonstrations.
Last year, stones and firecrackers were thrown at the Russian Embassy by nationalist demonstrators and a “Rainbow” artistic installation in Warsaw, meant as a symbol of tolerance in the capital, was set alight.
On Tuesday, the nationalists will be staging a “Patriots Army” march with organisers claiming that 50,000 people are expected to take part.
One of the organisers, Krzysztof Bosak, told Polish Radio that the march will avoid “controversial” areas and will honour the 150th anniversary of the birth of Roman Dmowski, an early 20th century nationalist politician. (kw/pg)
photo – flickr/Dan Markeye