Published Friday 10 May 2019 at 13:33
Children who attend a Polish Saturday school celebrated their country’s heritage with a colourful display in Blackburn Market last Saturday.
Dressed in Polish national costume, a dozen children from Adam Mickiewicz Polish Saturday School performed traditional dances and songs.
The children, aged between five and 11 years, gave lively performances of the Krakowiak, a fast-paced Polish folk dance, and the Polonez, often seen danced at carnivals and celebrations. The dance group – called Czerwone Maki, which translates as Red Poppies – also danced the Goralski and the Trojak.
The youngsters were also in fine voice as they sang traditional Polish language songs including Pierwsza Brygada, a song from the second world war. They were accompanied on piano by Our Lady & St John Catholic College pupil Natalia Stroz.
Polish Heritage Day is always celebrated on the first weekend following 3 May, Poland’s Constitution Day. This is the date on which, in 1791, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s constitution was adopted. It was the first constitution in modern Europe and the day is celebrated with a public holiday across Poland. The 2nd May is also Flag Day and Polonia Day in Poland.
Jan Poninska is the Deputy Headteacher of Adam Mickiewicz Polish Saturday School and brought the group of pupils to the market to perform. Jan said:
Polish Heritage Day celebrates the anniversary of the adoption of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s constitution in 1791.
It’s important to us to give our pupils an opportunity to share and display their heritage and culture with others in Blackburn with Darwen.
They enjoyed performing in Blackburn Market and also gave a performance in school for their families.
As well as entertaining Blackburn Market shoppers on Saturday afternoon, the group from Adam Mickiewicz Polish Saturday School also shared tourist information leaflets about Poland and handed out red and white balloons, in the colours of the Polish flag. Karolina Kowalczyk, Vice Consul at the Polish Embassy, was also in attendance.
Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said:
Blackburn with Darwen is a diverse borough, made up of many different cultures. Although we have a relatively small Polish population, it is important that our Polish residents have an opportunity to share their heritage, particularly on such an important day in their nation’s calendar.
In our borough we see diversity as a strength and an opportunity to learn from one another, and I am grateful to the school for taking the time to share their traditional dances and songs with market shoppers.
Adam Mickiewicz Polish Saturday School was established in Blackburn in 1950. The school, based within Our Lady & St John Catholic College on North Road in Blackburn, offers teaching in Polish language and culture.