Another Independence Day in Poland is coming up (11th of November) and I’m as always wondering why I have such sad associations with that holiday. It’s a day off at school and work; it’s a reason to be happy, to be proud, to be glad! And yet… somehow in my memory it’s always been a rather grim and bland occasion. So I thought of a few ideas to change it, they might be a bit absurd but at least I’m trying to come up with something to make this day more cheerful.
1. Change the date
I know the date was set for a reason but, believe me, November is the ugliest month you can imagine in Poland. Gloomy, rainy, cloudy, windy… It’s dark when you get up, it’s dark when you leave school/work. And all that just a couple of days after All Saints, another rather solemn occasion. No wonder no one’s in the mood to enjoy themselves. Now change the setting to, say, June – the sun is shining all day long, the birds are singing, everything’s green and blooming, well, that’s the perfect scenery for a joyous holiday! I think Christmas in Poland is the only time that a holiday gets to be really merry despite the cold.
2. Put on some fireworks, baby!
Do it like the Americans. Independence Day should be a reason to celebrate, a jolly occasion. That’s why there are picnics (see point 1. – weather), parades and huge fireworks displays throughout the USA on the 4th of July. Everything I can think of as a fun way to spend Independence Day is not worth organizing in November so it all come back to the weather in the end. I’d love some good outdoor concert, a festival or the mentioned fireworks but not standing outside freezing to death. Another good example to look at are the Germans organizing a street festivals with open air concerts and lots of yummy food every weekends in the few month in which the weather allows that.
3. Let the kids do it their own way
I know things might have changed since I went to school but all I can remember from back then are stiff, long and boring occasional presentations we had to prepare and/or watch that we hardly understood at that time. It’s extremely important to convey the knowledge of own history and heritage to the kids but it has to be done in a way that is fascinating and comprehensive for them. I agree that gaining independence is a serious matter, but does serious always have to be stuck-up, distant and boring?