Poland marks national anthem's 90th year
PR dla Zagranicy
A crowd has gathered at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw for a concert marking 90 years since an 18th century patriotic song became Poland's national anthem.
The original manuscript of Dąbrowski's Mazurka. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/anthem.pl
The Polish army orchestra performed the original 1797 version of the song, entitled Mazurek Dąbrowskiego, and other 18th century pieces during a changing of the guard ceremony at the monument in the city centre.
According to Przemysław Rey, curator of the National Anthem Museum in Będomin, in northern Poland, there are two stories about how the song came to be written by author and politician Józef Wybicki.
While some reports suggest Wybicki was inspired by the Polish Legions uniform, Rey said “it is more likely that [General] Jan Henryk Dąbrowski asked him to write the song for his soldiers”.
Rey said that Dąbrowski's “unit was unusual, being made up of prisoners of war, and such units have low morale, so the idea was to unite the [soldiers]”.
Wybicki's words were put to a traditional Polish folk dance and the song was first publicly performed at a celebration in Dąbrowski's honour on 20 June, 1797.
The song was adopted as Poland's national anthem by the interior minister in 1929.
While some the lyrics have changed, the melody remains the same as when the song was written 220 years ago. (vb)