A Celebration is Happening

Polish Constitution Day

I promised Paulette from Cheerful Thrifty Door that I would blog about a day that I know nothing about so here I am scouring the internet to see what I can find.

Polish Constitution Day is a National Holiday in Poland. It was on May 3, 1791 that the first constitution of its type in Europe was written and signed by the King. Scholars have called it the world’s second oldest constitution.  

Parade in Poland

Now, let me think, in 1791 my 7th great grandfather, Simon Zdanowicz was 25 years old, single and lived northeast of Warsaw in a tiny village called Jeziewo (close to Sztabin and Lithuania). My 6th great grandfather Sebastyan Suchanski was 22, was married to Katarzyna, had a baby daughter Agnes, and lived in Klobuck a tiny village close to Czestochowa. Being farmers and living a considerable distance from Warsaw, they probably did not know anything about the Polish Constitution because it was drawn up in Warsaw.

Not a single bill was allowed to be passed by the Constitution and in January of 1793, Poland fell to foreign powers and was occupied for over 100 years.

So when my grandfather and my great grandparents were born, Poland was under Russian rule. 

Unfinished Temple Divine Providence,  Warsaw Botanical Gardens.
The cornerstone was laid on May 3, 1792 to commemorate 
Constitution Day – May 3, 1791 by King Stanislaw August Poniatowski.

The Polish Constitution of May 3rd, 1791 has been commemorated every year in Chicago since 1891. The Polish National Alliance took the initiative and ever since that time there is a parade which lasts several hours. At first the parade was downtown but in 1910 when the General Thaddeus Kosciuszko monument was erected in Humboldt Park the parade proceeded along Division Street to the park on the first Sunday of May. 

My grandmother was born in Chicago in 1892 so my great grandparents who had fled Poland to live in a free country were present for the first Chicago celebration. 

The Polish Eagle waves free in Chicago and Poland every year during the celebrations. 

So cheers to all my Polish cousins in Poland and to those fellow Polish Americans in Chicago. Have a drink for me because they don’t celebrate here in the west.


3 thoughts on “A Celebration is Happening

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