Poland | 99 Years of Independence

TRAVEL

Poland has plenty of public holidays. A consequence of these holidays is that all shops, malls & most restaurants close their doors to join in celebrations – bringing business to a halt.

This was the case on November 11th 2017 when Poland celebrated its National Independence Day to commemorate the recovery of Poland as a sovereign state.

Taking a brief look into the history of Poland; the First Polish Republic [Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth] lasted a period of 226 years before 1795. The First Republic was a dualistic state [bi-confederation of Poland & Lithuania] ruled by a common monarch.

A Partitioned Poland existed from 1795 to 1918 [123 years], partitioned amongst the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia as well as Habsburg Austria. Four years towards the end of this period, World War 1 commenced and ended with the cessation of a Partitioned Poland.

From 1918 to 1939 the Second Republic of Poland [Polish People’s Republic or inter-war Poland] was in session, until the Second World War took place in 1939 to 1945.

A Communist Poland took up reins in the aftermath of World War 2, from 1945 to 1989.

Post 1989, Poland’s government ended its 44 years of “one – party rule” as per the Second Polish Republic, and began a democratic transition which led to what we now know as the Third Polish Republic [Post Communism – Democratic Republic of Poland].

To answer the question of when Poland gained its independence, it was in the year 1918, making the country one year short from a century of independence on November 11th 2017.

Saturday November 11th was a wet and cold day that had me in bed blogging away, waiting on the hour that my friends and I had planned to go and watch the Independence parade in Poznan’s Plac. Mickiewicza and despite the harsh weather, people were out in numbers.

To try and keep warm, my friends & I headed for the Zamek, a castle cultural center were we viewed photographs and historic depictions of Poland’s history. In the process of touring the Zamek, we stumbled upon a group of people getting ready for the parade.

Our first contact was with some lovely ladies robed in white gowns & red capes, both colors a representation of the bi-colored Polish National flag.

The moment was so intriguing I asked whether I could take picture of them. Upon agreeing, they suggested we join the group pictures and ultimately offered to dress us as they were dressed.

After completion of costumes and once it had been decided that we too would partake in the parade, we went ahead to see soldiers adding finishing touches to their costumes and chanting amongst themselves. They were to parade a historical reconstruction of Polish soldiers who had fought in the war that led to the country’s independence. It was a delight to be in the midst of such a joyous celebration.

The parade began.

Stepping into the drizzling rain, the crowd was enormous! They waved and smiled as the parade party passed by. The experience was exhilarating – celebrating the National Independence Day of Poland alongside the Poles, waving to children in the crowds and taking so many pictures along the way.

The day could not have been any more special, all thanks to the lovely ladies in white gowns and red capes.

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View of the Zamek Castle Cultural Center from Plac. Mickiewicza

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Statue performer

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Wall art depicting a time-line of Polish history | Zamek Castle

 

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Getting ready for the parade

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It was a joyous occasion!

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A historical reconstruction of Polish soldiers who fought the war towards the country’s independence

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Red capes and white gowns

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Polish street cuisine

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