Why is May so special for Polish students?

In May days are getting longer, there is more sun (well, at least it should be), exams are not so close yet, you can spend some time outside having a barbecue with your friends and so on… But there is one more thing, for which every student is waiting for for the whole year. It is called JUWENALIA. 

At the university in Poland you always have two terms, winter (October-January) and summer (February-June). Exams are usually in the last two weeks of each term, sometimes a bit earlier. But in May it is less likely that you have a lot of them. So it is a good time to enjoy your free time with your friends.

Celebration of Juwenalia is not only for students from one university, not only from one city! It takes place all around Poland. Actually, everywhere, where there is an university. In Wroclaw, my homecity there are quite many universities:

  • University of Wrocław (UWr – 31,500 students),
  • Wrocław University of Science and Technology (PWr – 34,000 students),
  • Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences (UP – 10,000 students),
  • Wrocław University of Economics (UE – 12,000 students),
  • Wroclaw Medical University (UMed – 5,500 students),
  • The University School of Physical Education (AWF – 4,000 students),
  • Military Academy of Land Forces (WSO)
  • Academy of Art and Design (ASP),
  • Academy of Music (AM)
  • and few other…

So as you can see there are 100,000 students in one city. And Juwenalia is a very special time for them.

Juwenalia is the name for some kind of student festival. This year they started officially on 11th of May (Thursday), but some events took place even earlier.

The students’ parade

Thursday is a bank holiday for all the students. In the morning they all gather in one place, dressed as many different characters. The only limit is your imagination! Wouldn’t it be nice to become a princess, smurf, bride, elephant, Santa Claus, pirate, knight, bottle of beer, Pac-Man, UFO, jellyfish, grape, scientist, or whoever you want, just for one day? You can make your dreams come true in Poland!

Students meet with rectors of all universities and go for a parade through the city. At the end, the Mayor of Wrocław gives students the ‚key to the city’. For that one weekend it’s students who rule in the city!

You can see here how many students take part in the parade every year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9NKQB-DrCM (5:44 is not the end!)

And if you want just some short cuts from Juwenalia parade 2017:

And here is some video recorded from the drone! It was done by one of my friends. You have to watch it!!! 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLOTBPsPZOc&spfreload=5

Drinking beer

Normally, you can’t drink alcohol in public in Poland. But during Juwenalia no one can stop students from having a beer outside. 😉


Really, there is no way you won’t have at least one beer during that time. However, the average amount per student is muuuuch higher. 😉

Breakfast with the rector

Except the parade there are many other things going on at the universities. You can have a breakfast with the rector of your uni, what happened on Monday for University of Science and Technology (PWr fb event) and on Friday for University of Wrocław (UWr fb event) students. If you want to see how does it look like, there are plenty of photos at this website.

PWr breakfast with the rector video <- check this out!

P.I.W.O. Project

P.I.W.O. (Potężny Indeksowany Wyświetlacz Oknowy – ang. Huge Indexed Window Display show). But piwo in Polish means… beer! But this event is much more than just having a beer with other students. For the last few years students gather in the student district of the city to watch the light show displayed on one of the student flats. Please watch this: Projekt P.I.W.O 2012 and this Projekt P.I.W.O 2014 (with laser show). This year Project P.I.W.O. will take place for 10th time!


Barbecue night

Another event which takes place slightly before the official start of Juwenalia is a barbecue night. Students go at the river Odra (which has many rover beds in Wroclaw) and have a barbecue (pol. grill) there. All the local shops have a lot of sausages and even some single-use barbecues.

Boat party

Students from some of the universities rent a ship and organise boat party for students. For this event you have to but a ticket earlier, as there is a limit of number of people. So you usually have to book your ticket really quickly.

Is it all?  Of course not!


The main part of Juwenalia are concerts taking place on Thursday-Sunday and few other weekend after the official beginning. Most known Polish and world-wide-known bands come to give concerts for students. And do you know what is the best about it? That all the concerts and most of the events during Juwenalia are completely FREE! So the only cost is the cost of your own beer. 😉

Each university has it’s own stage in different place in the city. And they invite bands that play pop, rock, punk rock, reggae, rock’n’roll, hip-hop, rap, disco polo. So whatever you like, you’ll find something interesting during these days.

Videos from previous years (not only from Wrocław):

The only bad thing about Juwenalia 2017 is that I’m not in Wrocław this year. 😦
But still, have fun Polish people! 😉





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