Polish-American Heritage Month is a national event celebrating Polish history, culture and pride. The idea was conceived in Philadelphia in 1981 by Michael Blichasz, a fourth generation Polish-American and was celebrated for five years in Pennsylvania. Originally observed in August, it focused on the contributions of less famous Polish-Americans who had, nevertheless, made an impact on American life. In 1986 the national leadership of the Polish American Congress joined the Polish American Heritage Month Committee to expand the program nationwide. At that time the campaign period was moved from August to October to enable school children to take part more easily and October is the month when the first Polish settlers came to Jamestown Virginia in 1607.
At about this same time, the Polish Heritage Committee was formed in Northampton with a focus on celebrating the contributions of General Casimir Pulaski, a Polish-born patriot who founded the American cavalry and assisted General George Washington’s fight for victory in our own Revolutionary War.
This has grown into a full day of celebration coinciding with Columbus Day in October each year when local churches, civic groups, schools, marching bands, military units and Polish-American organizations hold their annual parade on King and Main Streets of this city. The day begins with a Polish-American High Mass at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Church on King Street starting at 10:00 am and is followed by a parade through the center of the city to Pulaski Park on Main Street.
Here, we join our elected representatives to offer tributes to our Polish-American heritage and culture with speeches, presentations and musical performances reminiscent of traditional Americana. The festivities conclude with a light buffet in the community room of the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish on Hawley Street.
You are invited to visit Northampton this Columbus Day on October 9 and join the festivities to observe your Polish heritage and the role that this has played in United States history.