Are you interested in some interesting Polish festive seasons? We’ve got you covered, so unwind as we explore the top ten Polish festivals.
With a population of 38.5 million people, Poland is extremely diverse, with various Polish cultures, traditions, and tribes living together.
There are 13 annual government-approved holidays, which include New Year’s, Three Kings Day, Easter Sunday and Monday, Constitution Day, Independence Day, and Christmas.
But what catches people’s attention the most are the ten unique Polish festivals listed below.
Top 10 Unique Polish Festivals
1. Woodstock/Pol and Rock festival
The festival starts at the end of July or at the start of August. It is celebrated at Kostryn nad Odra, near Frankfurt Oder and Gorzow Wielkopolski.
Woodstock is the biggest festival in Poland. The Woodstock festival has been running since 1995.
It is the biggest open-air festival in the entire European Union. A US festival inspired the name of the festival.
Another name for the festival is Woodstock Station. Because the legendary US festival encourages the name, now the festival has another name, the PolAndRock festival.
This was required to avoid any copyright issues. It is one of those hippy music festivals in Poland that attracts around 750,000 a year. The most fun parts of the festival are alcohol and diving in the mud.
Since 1995, the event has taken place. Woodstock Festival Poland drew over 400k visitors in 2009, over 700k in 2011, 550k in 2012, 500k in 2013, and 750k in 2014.
As of 2019, the festival’s total attendance was 750,000, making it one of the world’s largest music festivals.
This Polish festival is held near the German border. It is an entirely free music festival. The popular music bands in Woodstock include IRA, Papa Roach, The Prodigy, and Kaiser Chiefs.
The Great Orchestra of Christmas is a Polish charity which funds this festival. You can also donate. Click here to visit the official website of the festival.
2. Blue Express
The celebration of this Poland Festival 2022 starts in early July in Poznan, Rogozno, Pila, Zlotow, Chodziez, and Zakrzewo.
This festival has been held in Zakrzew every year in mid-July since 1993, except for the thirteenth celebration, which did not take place in 2005 but was integrated into the celebration’s numbering.
The Polish House organizes it, a social center founded by Fr. Dr. Bolesaw Domaski and currently led by chief Henryk Szopiski, regarded as the “father” of the celebration.
The part from Pozna to Zakrzew, alluding to the tradition of blues by a train kept running by a steam locomotive, is the enduring component.
This is yet another unique festival. It is all about trains and travelling to unknown towns. There are music groups amidst the activity and at the stations.
The Blue Express is free for all celebrations and has seven different venues. It is a one-day festival that starts at noon and finishes after midnight on Saturday. The venues of the festival vary every year.
However, the festival is always in Poznan. Even though the festival is free at every venue, if you want to attend the train party, then you have to buy a train ticket.
Since the festival is about trains, a train inspires the festival’s name. That is the Blue Express!
This extravagant festival draws attendees from all over Europe. Every place has a stage where musicians can perform. Food and beverages are also offered. There is also lots of space to dance, sing, and have a good time.
Each town organizes its event, and a set of bands participates in each venue. Sometimes these bands keep on playing even after the train has left.
The grand finale of the festival takes place at Zakrzewo. Click here to visit the official website of this Polish festival.
3. Light and Movie Festival
The celebration of this Polish festival starts in October at Piotrkowska. This is a spectacular festival of lights. also known as “The Festival of Kinetic Art of Light.’ The festival attracts more than 500,000 people every year.
It is located on Piotrkowska Street, the largest pedestrian shopping street in Europe.
The celebration of this Polish festival can be seen in all the nearby streets, bars, cafes, restaurants, etc.
This festival just got underway. 2006, specifically. The purpose of this festival is to introduce locals and visitors to the power of light. To enable the spectator to learn how lighting may improve public spaces.
During three nights, huge organization projections, video mappings, imaginative enlightenments, and various light establishments spread throughout the city along a 15-kilometre course.
The main topic of the eighth version’s works is “100 Years of Independence-In the Festival of Joy”.
The celebration combines the verifiable character of Poland’s third biggest city and visual expressions.
It is the most prestigious Polish festival. It is a three-day-long extravaganza of lights. It has the aim of enhancing cultural identity and inducing community spirit.
Juvenalia is an annual holiday for higher education students in Poland. The celebration of this festival starts in the summer, before the exams.
All Polish universities observe this holiday. Students march in a parade wearing bright clothing. Depending on the locale, the festival may go by a different name.
The participating students marched from the college campus to the town square. Here a symbolic gesture takes place. The town’s mayor hands the town’s gate keys to the student.
This gesture indicates that there would be no lectures until the next three days. Lots of parties and beer drinking follow the three days. It is the best Polish festival for students.
5. Festival of Jewish Culture
A Jewish culture festival is held in Warsaw (the capital of Poland). Both Hebrew and Yiddish commemorate the festival. The festival has been celebrated since 2004.
The festival includes theatre, dance, films, music, exhibits, etc.
The Polish-Israeli-American Shalom Foundation, founded in 1988 on the initiative of Goda Tencer, an actor and producer of the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw, organizes the festival.
The foundation’s mission is to popularise Jewish culture in Poland and to remember its Jewish communities.
The inaugural annual festival was held in 2004, on the 100th anniversary of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s birth (note that Singer’s exact birth year is unknown).
The festival’s emblem is a blend of a fiddler on a rooftop (to represent Polish Jewish culture) and the Warsaw Syrenka (to symbolize Warsaw).
Lech Majewski was the man behind the design. The 2009 event took place from August 29 to September 6. Nigel Kennedy was among the guests and participants.
With buildings and atmosphere, they try to recreate the Jewish culture during the time of interwar in Poland.
The organizer of the festival is the Shalom Foundation. The main aim of the foundation is to promote Jewish culture in Poland.
It includes kosher food, dancing, crafts, ceramics, a discussion group, and many more.
Polish people have celebrated Winaki since 1992, held yearly at Krakow city hall.
The Polish celebrate this festival every year as a pagan religious event. We can trace the festival’s origin back to before the Christ era.
It is believed the festival began to celebrate the summer solstice back in time. However, today there are some changes.
The rituals include fortune-telling, couples wandering together, and jumping over bonfires. The festival’s activities include musical concerts, fireworks in the sky, etc.
Celebrate midsummer in style by attending the Wianki Festival in Krakow, Poland, where you may join the masses along the Vistula riverbank.
Spread a picnic blanket and enjoy the convivial environment, where you may catch a piece of music beneath the stars or watch a stunning firework show.
Wianki (literally, wreaths) are traditionally tossed into the river around the summer solstice as part of a Pagan festival.
Old style, jazz, society, and rock are gathered around Wawel Hill’s base; a rundown is a diversion.
The focus is on enjoyment and discovering the late spring solstice as a festival that both familiar and unfamiliar musical partners surround.
7. Saint Dominic’s Fair
The St Dominic’s Fair in Gdansk is one of Europe’s largest commercial open-air festivals.
It was founded in 1260 by Pope Alexander IV and has been held yearly in the streets of Gdansk ever since — with a brief gap during and after World War II.
The history of this festival goes back to 1260. It is more than 750 years of tradition. Pope Alexander IV established the tradition.
The reactivation of the festival was in 1972. Saint Dominic’s fair lasts up to 3 weeks.
It is the biggest open-air festival/fair in Europe. About 1,000 merchants and artists participate in this fair every year.
About 70,000 people visit the fair every day. The number of visitors doubles at the weekend.
The festivals symbolize the medieval tradition of trade and fun. You can find stalls with unique artifacts, philatelic collections, handicrafts, expensive clothes, antiques, etc. You will have the opportunity to taste traditional Polish dishes as well.
The visitors are not only from Poland but also from Sweden, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Israel, and many more. Even merchants come from different countries; hence, you can find different artifacts belonging to their cultures.
The festivals include street parades, sports events, fireworks, concerts, and more. This is one of the best traditional Polish festivals.
8. Zielona Gora Wine Fest
It is a Polish wine festival. Polish citizens celebrate this festival every year at Zielona Gora. The festival begins to celebrate the grape harvest.
The harvested grapes were utilized for making wine. The first festival began in October 1982.
However, now it is celebrated in the first or second week of September. The festival is held on Saturday; it starts with a parade from the centre of the town.
It is a nine-day-long festival. The practice is connected with the time of gathering grapes from the nearby grape plantations, which are then transformed into wine.
The primary celebration occurred in October 1852. These days, it begins in the first or second seven-day stretch of September and goes on for nine days.
Several cultural and sporting activities occur over the nine days, with the International Festival of Folklore being one of the most notable.
There are numerous sporting and cultural events. Additionally, there are theatrical performances and musical events. Additionally, there are musical concerts and theatrical events (including street theatre).
The center of the town becomes a prominent marketplace. Besides, an entire street is selling and buying a home of antiques.
9. St. Stephen’s Day
On December 26, St. Stephen’s Day celebrations are held in Poland; it is the second day of Christmas and a public holiday. Saint Stephen was the first martyr of Christianity.
He was stoned to death, accusing him of blasphemy. Families and friends get together to get to know each other, and many have an enormous supper. Most Polish places of worship likewise put extraordinary displays on festival dates of early June and Christmas eve in all major cities.
The festival remains for ten to thirteen days. People and their family members attend church services and do horseback riding in warm weather.
This ritual is mainly done to get a horse’s blessing. Some people also carry out stoning drinking rituals.
10. New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is celebrated enthusiastically like the rest of the world. People come together and organize events. There are many house parties, dancing, music, food and much more.
Poland’s biggest open-air New Year party was held at the Rynekglowny arena in Krakow. There are beautiful light and laser shows.
The climate of Poland is favourable for tourism. The locals are welcoming. Another thing that makes Poland the best country to visit to enjoy the festival is its meagre crime rate.
There are many other Polish folk festivals. However, this article sheds light on their unique ones. These festivals are great for celebrating polish heritage month with superb polish music and polish culture.
Do you know any more Polish festivals? If so, then do let us know in the comment section below! Could you share your thoughts with us?