Polish American Heritage Month is an annual designation observed in October. Across the globe, there are about 9.5 million Polish Americans. They represent about 3% of the American population. The first wave of millions of Poles migrated America between 1800 and 1860. The second and third generations of Poles were born in America in the late 1900’s, and grew up as Americans with a touch of Polish heritage. The Polish have always held onto a fierce passion for their culture, their independence, and their new country.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Use #PolishAmericanHeritageMonth to post on social media. Consider having a real celebration with friends or family this year, especially if you even have a touch of Pole in your heritage. Here are some things you can do, Polish or not, to celebrate this month and learn some more about this culture.
Attend a Polish mass.
Learn some Polish dances (the polka is fun and very popular!)
Do some research about Polish literature and culture. Educating yourself on history always helps broaden your mind.
Find out if you have any Polish ancestors.
Cook! Try making some pierogi’s or kielbasa. You won’t be disappointed. (Also, October 8th is National Pierogi Day, so there’s an added incentive.)
Michael Blichasz, the President of the Polish American Cultural Center in Philadelphia, organized the first Polish American Heritage Month in 1981. It was celebrated in August. House Joint Resolution 577 passed in 1984, making August Polish American Heritage Month. In 1986 the observation was moved to October.
Scholarship awards were presented to the 2018 winners by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. Pictured ( l.to r. ) are Jackie Konwinski, Brooke Scally (BGSU), Stan Machosky, PACT/TPA scholarship coordinator, Meredith Oblizajek (UT), Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Payton Kamer (Whitmer H.S.), Tom Sorosiak, and Alex Drabik (UT).
Constitution Day is an official public holiday in Poland.
On May 3, 1791, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s constitution was adopted. It was the first constitution in modern Europe and second in the world, following the American one. It was a significant achievement of the Polish Enlightenment thinkers.
May 3 was established as a holiday only days after the constitution was passed by the Grand Sejm (Polish Parliament). It was later suspended for many years due to the country’s partitioning, but was reinstituted after Poland regained its freedom in 1918. After World War II, in 1946, the communist authorities banned the holiday’s public celebration. The holiday was officially cancelled in 1951. Since 1990 the May 3 holiday has again been celebrated as an official statutory holiday in Poland.
Constitution Day is part of a holiday season known as Majówka, which also includes the May 1/Labor Day holiday. It is celebrated with military parades, spring concerts and family picnics. Many people also gather at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Grób Nieznanego Żołnierza) at the Piłsudski Square in Warsaw. The monument is dedicated to unknown soldiers who gave their lives for Poland.
Polish-American Community of Toledo (PACT) and Toledo Poznan Alliance (TPA)
Annual Scholarship Competition ends May 31, 2018
The Polish-American Community of Toledo (PACT) and the Toledo Poznan Alliance (TPA) have announced that their Annual Scholarship Competition to award $4,000 to area Polish-American students is currently underway.
Over the past seven years over $20,000 in scholarship money has been awarded to students of Polish-American heritage in the Toledo area.
The competition is divided into two categories — High School and College. Applicants must fill out an application form and submit an essay. The high school category is for students in grades 8 – 12. Their essay topic is “What is the meaning of your Polish American heritage?” The college category is for undergraduate students and the topic of their essay is “What individual or event associated with Polish culture has impacted you, your community, or country the most, and why?”
Those interested in applying have until May 31, 2018 to complete a Scholarship Application Form and submit it along with their essay.
If a public high school student is awarded a scholarship, funds will be placed in escrow until the student attends college.
Former scholarship winners are not eligible to receive another scholarship in the same category. For instance, a high school winner cannot receive another scholarship competing in the high school category. However, the student could re-apply and could win while attending college.
Click on the Scholarship link on the right to download and print this year’s application.