Originally posted on http://www.pem.cam.ac.uk/kit-smarts-blog/celebrating-may-3rd/ May 13th 2016
The Graduate Parlour held a BA dinner followed by a display of Polish folk-dancing to honour the Polish-Lithuanian National Holiday.
So far this year, the Graduate Parlour has hosted events for Thanksgiving, Bonfire Night, French Epiphany, Burns Night (complete with ceilidh), and St Patrick’s Day. International Officer Florent Dyé explains that the aim ‘of these events is to meet people and to
experience and share one another’s backgrounds in a specific context’. Which is why he invited ten members of a Polish folk-dancing group to join the GP for their weekly BA dinner to celebrate the Polish-Lithuanian national holiday that commemorates the May 3rd Constitution.
The May 3rd Polish-Lithuanian Constitution, signed in 1791, was the first constitution in Europe and recognised the agreements made between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The constitution was in place for only 18 months as Poland was partitioned between Austria, Prussia and Russia but belief in it only grew. Seeing the constitution as a beacon of successful internal reform and as a symbol of a reunited Poland.
Following the First World War, May 3rd was once more reinstated as a national holiday, being celebrated again for the first time in hundreds of years in 1919. It was once more outlawed during the Nazi Occupation and not fully reinstated until the fall of Communism in 1990. In 2007, Lithuania also declared it a national holiday.
In recent years, the May 3rd Constitution has been celebrated not just by Poland and Lithuania but by Polish immigrants in other countries, in Chicago for instance they have an annual parade to mark the day. The GP had to make do without a parade this year, however, they were treated instead to traditional Polish food served during the BA dinner followed by a display of traditional Polish folk dancing which they were encouraged to participate in.
The next item on the GP’s international events calendar is taking place this Saturday and will be an International Potluck followed by Eurovision.