11 April 2017
Taking place in various locations on 6-7 May 2017, celebrations will take the form of numerous events, shows, picnics, and lectures organised by the Polish diaspora in cooperation with local councils, Polish Saturday Schools, and Polish-language Roman Catholic parishes. Intended as an annual festival, Polish Heritage Day is planned for the weekend after the symbolic date of 3 May, when in 1791 Poland proclaimed its modern codified constitution as the first country in Europe and the second in the world after the United States – a symbol of freedom and equality. 2 May is also celebrated in Poland and in Polish communities around the world as the Polish Diaspora Day and Polish Flag Day.
Over 30 projects planned across the UK will be coordinated by the Polish Consulates in London, Manchester, and Edinburgh with the intended long-term effect of permanently entering the calendar of events and celebrations across Britain. A number of city councils have already expressed their support for the project by offering patronage and raising the white-and-red flags on town halls during the festival as a gesture of openness and symbol of sympathy. A virtual map of planned events can be discovered at Polish Embassy’s website.
Project’s logo is based on the design of the white-and-red chequerboard – a symbol painted on the Polish airplanes during the Battle of Britain 1940. During the Battle, Polish pilots constituted the second largest Allied contingent after the British. During World War II and later in the time of communism, the United Kingdom was the refuge of the Polish Government-in-Exile and free Poles. The Polish community is a mixture of the descendants of those wartime and anti-communist exiles and those who decided to move to Britain after Poland joined the EU in 2004.
Polish nationals are now the largest minority in the UK, estimated at 984,000. Poles have opened 30,000 businesses in the UK , and pride themselves in the highest rate of individuals in employment or higher education among all ethnic groups in Britain – at 92 per cent.
For more information about the project, follow #PLHeritageDay on social media and visit the virtual map of all events available here.SEE MORE