Beloved national anthem to be changed to reflect ‘chronology of historical events’
Poland’s national anthem is to be changed under new legislation put forward by the culture ministry.
Written in 1797 by the poet Józef Wybicki, the anthem Dąbrowski Mazurka, or the “Song of the Polish Legions in Italy”, was first sung publicly on 20 July 1797, two years after the Third Partition of Poland erased the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth from the map.
It was originally meant to boost the morale of Polish soldiers serving under General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski's Polish Legions that served with Napoleon's French Revolutionary Army in the Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars.
The Dąbrowski Mazurka expressed the idea that the nation of Poland, despite lacking an independent state of its own, had not disappeared as long as the Polish people were still alive and fighting in its name.
When Poland re-emerged as an independent state in 1918, the Dąbrowski Mazurka became the national anthem.
But now a draft law says that the anthem’s second and third stanzas will be switched around, with the one starting 'Like Czarniecki to Poznan', which refers to the Polish Swedish war, now coming before the verse 'We’ll cross the Vistula, we’ll across the Warta'.
The changes have long been sought by heraldry and musicology experts who say they reflect not just the original text as it was sung in Italy in 1797, but also the chronology of historical events.
The justification attached to the bill reads: "The public performance of the national anthem of the Republic of Poland should be consistent with the literary text."
The draft law also calls for changes to how national symbols are used in today's digital world, the exact colours that should be used in state symbols and rules for the dignified handling of damaged flags.
The authors of the proposals said: “The result will be a standardization in the years 2021-2023 and subsequent years used in the state by the public administration - in its visual identification, the image of Polish state symbols".
The last change state symbols were changed took place at the time of the political transformation in 1989 when the crown was restored to the national emblem.