- May 3, 2013
White and red flags in Jašiūnai
On May 2nd two days important for Poles were celebrated – the Day of the Flag of the Republic of Poland and the Day of the Polish Community and Poles Abroad. May 2nd is a chance to manifest one’s national identity and attachment to Polish traditions.
The symbol, which connects Poles in all places around the world, is the Polish flag. Once again, in the course of the past few years, on this day in Jašiūnai in the Šalčininkai region, white and red flags were hung out on a few buildings.
—It is important for me, since in this way I want to celebrate Polish national holidays – the Day of the Flag and the Day of the Polish Community and Poles Abroad. I am a Pole and by hanging out the flag I want to emphasize my feeling of connection with all Poles, with the Polish nation — told “Kurier” Jerzy Borkowski, an entrepreneur from Jašiūnai, a councillor of the Šalčininkai region, who hang a white and red flag out on his shop. — I have been doing it each year for a few years. This way, I want to emphasize the importance of the day.
Councillor Jerzy Borkowski also hangs out the flag on May 3rd, which is also a Polish national holiday:
—May 3rd is the anniversary of enacting the first Constitution in Europe. It is important, since the Constitution was enacted precisely in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth — in the common, Polish and Lithuanian country. Undoubtedly, we have a reason to be proud, this is our common feast.
As he told us, by hanging out the flat, a pride of being a Pole or having Polish origins is demonstrated: “We also show respect to our compatriots, who sacrificed their life, freedom, and work for existence, independence and success of our Nation.”
Unfortunately, also in this year there were some legal problems. A police patrol from the police station in Jašiūnai ordered the Polish flag, which was hang out on a shop, to be removed and they noted down the particulars of the employee who was hanging out the flag. The police’s argument for this requirement was that it is prohibited to hang out flags of foreign countries. The employee did not follow the order made in speech.
In Lithuania, the rules of hanging out the Lithuanian flag as well as flags of other countries are regulated by the Act on the national flag and other flags. Article 12 of Act 6 allows flags of other countries to be hang out by private individuals: “Natural or legal persons can, according to their wish (savo nuožiūra — lit.) hang out or place national flags of foreign countries, of the European Union or flags of international organisations in a way which does not sow disrespect for these flags.”
THE DAY OF THE POLISH COMMUNITY ABROAD
It is a Polish feast, celebrated on May 2nd since 2002, set up by the Seym of the Republic of Poland basing on the initiative of the Senate of Poland – as a proof of appreciation for the long-term achievements and participation of Poles and the Polish community abroad in regaining Polish independence, for loyalty and attachment to Polish identity and for helping the country in its most difficult times. Celebrated on May 2nd, the Day of the Polish community is supposed to confirm the unity of all Poles in the world. Its aim is also strengthening the feeling of Polish national unity above borders of countries and above ideological differences.
According to estimations, 21 million Poles and people of Polish origin live outside Poland. The greatest number of them (as many as 10 million) lives in the United States. Almost 2 million are in Germany, in France- about a million and seven hundred thousand in Belarus. Over two hundred thousand native people of Polish origin live In Lithuania.
The Day of the Flag of the Republic of Poland is celebrated on the same day.
Tłumaczenie by Emilia Zawieracz w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Emilia Zawieracz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.