Modification of the text of the Polish national anthem, consisting in changing the order of the second and third stanzas, is provided for by the draft act prepared by the Ministry of Culture and published on the website of the Government Legislation Center. The draft also provides for ordering the legal status regarding the use of state symbols – the flag and the coat of arms of the Republic of Poland.
The proposal – apart from introducing patterns of state symbols in line with modern printing and graphic techniques – envisages that the second stanza of Mazurek Dąbrowski’s anthem will begin with the words “Jak Czarniecki to Poznań”, and not “Cross the Vistula, cross the Warta” as it has been so far. The Polish Press Agency unofficially learned from the Ministry of Culture that this change is a return to the original character of Mazurka Dąbrowski, whose words were written by Józef Wybicki.
Currently, the draft act on state symbols of the Republic of Poland is sent by the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport to public consultations. The ministry explains that the act is primarily to adapt state symbols to the requirements of new digital technologies and introduce corrections that have long been postulated by heraldists and musicologists – in the case of the national anthem. The act is to replace the previous regulation from 1980.
Draft amendments to the act on state symbols
“The overriding goal of the draft act is to organize the legal status of the use of state symbols of the Republic of Poland by state institutions, legal and natural persons, as well as to introduce patterns of state symbols in line with modern printing and graphic techniques” – we read in the justification of the draft, which also recalled that the issue of organizing the state symbols of the Republic of Poland has been raised for many years.
“The Act of January 31, 1980 on the emblem, colors and anthem of the Republic of Poland and on state seals (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1509) has graphic attachments that do not correspond to today’s technical possibilities – there are no specifications specified in the current standardized graphic systems of national colors, the statutory digital version of the emblem and the image of the eagle of the Republic of Poland. In practice, this means that the protection of state symbols is not possible: most of the flags and emblems used do not meet the requirements of the current act “- emphasized in the regulatory impact assessment (RIA ) of the project. The designer reminded that state symbols as symbols in common use in the entire state and local government administration, as well as in the judiciary, law corporations, the army and other services are the most important elements of the identification of state institutions. “Changes made in this sphere in practice affect all citizens, therefore they are implemented quite rarely” – noted in the RIA, also recalling that the last change in the sphere of state symbols was related to the change of the political system in 1989 and the restoration of the crown state emblem.
Change in the hymn
The proposed act is to introduce a color pattern in the applicable graphic standards, to organize the nomenclature of symbols (including by introducing the notion of the state coat of arms of the Republic of Poland and the Banner of the flags to put inscriptions on them), as well as introduce a national bow.
The changes are also to apply to Mazurka Dąbrowski, whose words were written in 1797 by Józef Wybicki. One of the annexes to the draft law contains – as we read in the justification of the draft law – “the literary text of the Polish anthem with the change proposed by the panel of experts regarding the change of the order of the second and third stanzas”. In the proposal, the second stanza of the anthem begins with the words “Jak Czarniecki do Poznania”. “The public performance of the national anthem of the Republic of Poland should be consistent with the literary text” – the draft act stated.
The poet Józef Wybicki wrote Mazurka Dąbrowskiego, or “Song of the Polish Legions in Italy” between 16 and 19 July 1797, during the stay of Polish legionnaires in Reggio Emilia (in the then Republic of Cisalpina). Initially, Dąbrowski’s Mazurka consisted of six stanzas, the first of which began with the words “Poland has not died yet”, the second from “Jak Czarniecki to Poznań”, and the third from “Cross the Vistula through the Warta River”. Most often it is said that the Dąbrowski Mazurka was sung in public for the first time on July 20, 1797.
The draft of the new regulation – as summarized – has a universal and equally broad impact. “The basic changes enforced by the act are:
1) Exchange of used flags; used coats of arms; plaques with the coat of arms;
2) Introduction of new templates of documents, taking into account the new model of the coat of arms (e.g. certificates, passports);
3) Gradual replacement of the uniforms of services using the coat of arms or state colors;
4) Replacing the seal with a new coat of arms “- says the OSR.
Regulatory costs – as estimated in RIA pt. “impact on the public finance sector” – will amount to PLN 147.8 million within 10 years from the entry into force of the amendments.
Ultimately – as the authors of the project assume – “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”.
Main photo source: PAP