2018 is now here, so what can we expect in the days, weeks and months ahead? Here's our calendar complete with dates and events.
Three Kings Day
The next public holiday after New Year's Day is Three Kings Day on Saturday January 6th. Large shops and supermarkets will of course be closed, as is normal for public holidays in Poland.
The 6th of January also marks the start of the carnival period, during which many parties are held.
Another big event to take place in January is the annual running of WOŚP, the charity that collects funds for medical equipment in Poland.
Every year the charity's President, Jerzy Owsiak, becomes embroiled in a smear campaign mounted by right-wing journalists who loathe his quirky style and outlandish Woodstock festival. Several attempts have been made to find Owsiak guilty of either misusing or stealing WOŚP donations, but on every occasion the courts have considered him not guilty. Expect there to be more attacks on Owsiak in the coming weeks.
This year the charity's 'grand finale' is scheduled for January 12th.
Orthodox New Year
Wrocław's sizable Ukrainian population, as well as people from the Balkans and countries like Georgia and Russia, will likely go to special events to celebrate Orthodox New Year on January the 14th.
Grandmothers Day and Grandfathers Day
Later in the month many Poles will spend time with their grandparents due to Grandmothers Day and Grandfathers Day, which are on the 21st and 22nd of January respectively.
Polonaise on the Rynek
Last but not least, before the month is over thousands of students will have queued up on the market square to perform the traditional Polonaise dance.
The act of performing the dance in front of the statue of Polish literary icon Aleksander Fredro, which is organised 100 days before the final literature and grammar exam, is said to bring good luck to the students taking part.
On the 2nd of February religous Poles will celebrate Candlemas, which commemorates the presentation of Jesus at the Temple.
6 days later the entire country will be munching on doughnuts, faworki and other sweet delights for Fat Thursday.
Seeing as Lent is a time of fasting, Fat Thursday provides the last opportunity to indulge until Easter arrives.
Traditionally people meet in their homes or cafés with their friends and relatives and eat large quantities of sweets, cakes and other meals forbidden during Lent. Nowadays companies often get in on the act too, laying out piles of doughnuts for their employees.
If you prefer something more savoury, then perhaps 'Herring Tuesday' on February 13th will be more up your street. The day always falls on the Tuesday after Fat Thursday and marks the end of the carnival period.
Although not as popular as fat Thursday, many Poles still partake in a bit of pickled herring and a few shots of vodka before lent kicks in.
Valentines Day (February 14th) has been a thing in Poland for many years, although it is not a tradition in the country and has just been imported from abroad.
The 2018 Winter Olympics also take place during February (between the 9th and the 25th), so expect plenty of Poles to tune and cheer on the likes of ski jumper Kamil Stoch. Poland has an established winter sports tradition and there will be plenty of Poles competing for medals.
The return of the Ektraklasa
Poland's top flight football league returns on February the 8th. Śląsk Wrocław's 1st game at home is against Górnik Zabrze two weeks later. Śląsk will be desperately seeking to qualify for the top 8 group – failure to do so could have tragic financial consequences for the club.
The Wrocław Open
International tennis will come to Wroclaw this February in the shape of the Wroclaw Open, a men's ATP Challenger tournament held at Hala Orbita.
The competition, which takes place between the 26th of February and the 4th of March, is usually completely free of charge for spectators.
National Remembrance Day of the"Cursed Soldiers"
The month of March kicks off with the National Remembrance Day of the so called "Cursed Soldiers". The Cursed Soldiers were an anti-communist Polish resistance movement formed in the later stages of World War II. In the aftermath of the war the soldiers stayed on to fight the communist regime via various means.
Many Poles see the soldiers as heroes, however others feel differently about the their legacy (please read up on the matter here). Expect to see extreme right-wing groups like the NOP and ONR organise events on this day.
Re-opening of the Nextbike rental system
Wrocław's popular bike rental system, which will be available to use again in March, has seen incredible growth in the last few years.
In 2017 two stations were added on ul. Strachocińska and where ul. Żmigrodzka and Kasprowicza meet, taking the number of bike stations available up to 760. You can expect that number to grow in 2018.
Start of fortnightly Sunday Trading Ban
PiS' Sunday trading ban kicks in this March, meaning all large shops and supermarkets will have to close their doors on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of every month.
International Women's Day
On the 8th March Poland will celebrate International Women's Day.
Celebrated annually on the 8th of March, Women's day was originally invented in the US in 1909. In Poland however, Women's Day has long had an association with communism due to its post WW2 adoption by the communist government.
Despite this association, Women's day is still very well recognized in the country and is noticeably more popular than Valentines day, which has only been celebrated in recent times.
Traditionally, the days sees women receive gifts such as flowers and chocolates, with tulips normally being the flower of choice.
The day is as popular as ever, so don't be surprised to see a special promotions, offers and events to mark the occasion.
The 1st Day Of Spring
On March 20th Poland's youths (and others for that matter) will celebrate the first day of spring by heading to Wyspa Słodowa.
In the past on the first day of spring Wyspa Słodowa was synonymous with an invasion of students, both over and under age, who would flock to Island to have a beer or two – even during class time. However, specially organised concerts, combined with an increased police presence, have quelled the numbers of youths going for a cheeky open-air beer on this popular day.
Poland vs Nigeria
Poland will take on Nigeria at Stadion Wrocław on March 23rd as part of their preparations for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
Poland were top seeds in the recent World Cup draw, which pitted them against Columbia, Senegal and Japan. The match against Nigeria therefore appears to have been chosen as preparation for the encounter with Senegal.
This year Easter takes place in the last weekend in March (although Easter Sunday and Monday are in April). For many Poles, this festival is every bit as important as Christmas. A traditional Easter in Poland (according to Terry Clark-Ward) is as follows:
- Step 1: Wash all the windows where you live thoroughly.
- Step 2: Spring clean and tidy the house (Often to a standard that would keep all health inspectors satisfied!).
- Step 3: Go to Church (at least from Palm Sunday onwards).
- Step 4: Paint and decorate eggs, which are often boiled with various coloured dyes.
- Step 5: Go back to church on the Saturday before Easter Sunday and have your boiled eggs blessed. You'll need help with this, as it is customary to place the eggs in a small wicker basket. This generally also includes bread, butter, salt, and a bit of sausage, with the basket itself lined by a white presentation doily.
- Step 6: Enjoy a family breakfast, and share boiled eggs with each other as you impart wishes of happiness and fulfillment.
- Step 7: Spend the rest of the holiday eating cake, visiting friends and family, and maybe drinking vodka (some variations may apply).
April Fool's Day
Just like in many other countries across the globe, Poland takes part in April fools day – so don't be surprised to see a few spoof stories in the media.
Easter Monday (April 2nd) is known locally as 'Wet Monday'. This isn't because it's usually raining, but due to the strange tradition of soaking passers by on the street as well as members of your family at home with water.
Anniversary of the Smolensk air disaster
This April it will be 8 years since the horrific Polish government plane crash that occurred on 10 April 2010. The crash resulted in the death of all 96 people on board, including President Lech Kaczyński and his wife, as well as senior political and military bosses.
Expect the Government to promise evidence that places the blame for the incident on Russia or Donald Tusk, only to fail to provide anything circumstantial whatsoever. This trend has repeated itself in the last couple of years.
Jazz Nad Odra
The Jazz nad Odrą Festival, one of the oldest and most prestigious jazz festivals in Poland, holds its 54th edition this year.
First organized in 1964, the event has become a core part of Poland's music scene for over half a century. Every spring the festival presents a fine line up of interesting jazz acts from all around the world, whose styles incorporate almost every jazz sub-genre.
The dates of this year's festival are yet to be confirmed.
Start of the food truck season
Will food trucks still be cool in 2018? Time will tell on that one.
You can nonetheless still expect a new stream of food trucks to try their luck this year, with the Wrocław StrEAT food truck festival on April 17th offering a good first chance to impress.
Poland marks the start of May with two public holidays – Labour Day (May 1st) and Constitution Day (May 3rd). Both days (and also the one in-between) are packed full of fun outdoor cultural events and there is no shortage of things to do whatsoever.
World Guitar Record
Every May thousands of guitarists play Jimi Hendrix's Hey Joe in unison on the Rynek in a yearly attempt to break the world record for the biggest number of people playing the same song in unison in the same place.
The world guitar record attempt has become a popular May holiday tradition in Wroclaw and people from all over the world take part. In previous years there have been sizable contingents from Spain, Germany, Russia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Belarus, Hungary and Norway.
New multimedia fountain shows
May is also the time when the multimedia fountain steps back into action with another new show.
The special shows usually start at approximately 10pm each night – although the fountain usually operates throughout the day from 10am.
Every May Wrocław's students live it large thanks to the traditional 'Juwenalia' parties, the highlight of which is a massive barbecue.
Another big Juwenalia tradition is the parade, which is arguably one of the most colourful events of the year. The jovial and fun-packed event is generally lapped up by the students taking part and also brings back many fun memories for former students of the city.
Start of the horse racing season
Horse racing returns to Wrocław following the winter break in May, giving punters the chance to make a bet and see the race unfold live in the flesh.
Entrance is free and there are plenty of places to place a bet, eat and drink at the racecourse. Well worth a visit if the weather is good and you haven't been yet.
If the Majowka wasn't enough, there's another public holiday this year in the shape of Pentecost (although on this occasion the day falls on a Sunday).
Start of the beach bar season
Towards the end of May Wrocław's beach bars traditionally return to action. Last year was a record year in terms of the number of beach bars; it would be no surprise to see that number increase slightly in 2018.
Mother's Day is celebrated in Poland on May 26th.
Children also have their own day here in Poland 🙂 On June 1st plenty of events will take place throughout the city for Wrocław's kids.
Wrocław Good Beer Festival
Every summer Wroclaw Good Beer Festival at Stadion Wrocław attracts huge crowds of hop-heads as well as craft beer newbies. This year's edition will take place from the 8th-10th of June.
Europe On A Fork Food Festival
Working in tandem with the midsummer market, the 'Europa na Widelcu' festival features live cooking demonstrations with celebrity chef Robert Makłowicz and boasts numerous dishes from all over Europe.
Hosted on the market square, the festival offers visitors the chance to sample a wide range of freshly made snacks and meals. Europe on a Fork's stalls contain plenty of interesting produce for cooking enthusiasts to take home too.
The date of this year's event has not yet been confirmed.
World Cup 2018
Poles will be glued to their tvs through June (and hopefully July) as they tune in to see if Lewandowski and co can guide the country's national team to the later stages of the World Cup.
June sees the arrival of the midsummer market, which is basically a stripped down version of the Christmas market together with the addition of a sandpit, artificial grass and some plant plots.
The weekend of the longest day is usually packed with special events, including the festival of high temperatures, live music at Lesnica Castle and as of last year, the Św. Antoniego Street Celebration.
Mother's Day is celebrated in Poland on June 23rd.