Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Festivals & Holidays in Hungary

EuropeHungaryFestivals & Holidays in Hungary

Public holidays

DateEnglish nameLocal nameRemarks
1 JanuaryNew Year’s DayÚjévAccording to legend, eating lentil soup on this day makes people wealthy, rolling out strudel dough ensures long life, and eating poultry causes luck to “fly away.”
15 MarchNational DayNemzeti ünnepDay of Remembrance for the 1848 Revolution (which aimed the independence of the Hungarian Kingdom from the Austrian Empire). Speeches and music pieces (such as Nemzeti dal) are frequently performed, and many individuals wear a cockade with the national colors (red, white and green).
MoveableEasterSundayHúsvétvasárnap 
MoveableEasterMondayHúsvéthétfőMen pay ladies visits to shower them with perfume (or, in the countryside, water), before requesting permission by reciting a poem. In exchange, the women provide the males with eggs (sometimes painted, sometimes chocolate). The Easter Bunny brings chocolate eggs (sometimes fruits and nuts, sometimes chocolate rabbits) to children; these presents are occasionally buried in the yard or home. (Real rabbits are occasionally given as gifts.) For supper, it’s common to have ham, eggs, and sweetbreads.
1 MayLabour dayA munka ünnepeSpecial programs are conducted to represent the EU nations, bridges are adorned, and exhibits are staged. Labour Day falls on the same day as May Day (majális), and many people celebrate in public parks. Since 2004, it has also been the anniversary of the EU’s entry.
MoveablePentecostSundayPünkösdvasárnapEaster Sunday, 49 days later
MoveablePentecostMondayPünkösdhétfőMonday after Pentecost
20 AugustState Foundation DayAz államalapítás ünnepeSt. Stephen’s Day commemorates Hungary’s first monarch, as well as the day of Hungary’s foundation and “the day of the new bread.” As Hungary’s first monarch, St. Stephen of Hungary (Szent István király in Hungarian) (ca. 975 – 15 August 1038) brought the nation into the Christian church and created the institutions of the kingdom and the church. He was canonized on August 20, 1083, and his feast day is August 20. In the evening, there is a half-hour fireworks show on the Danube bank, which is attended by many people on both river sides and is seen by many from the hills on the Buda side of the river and from the roofs of both Pest and Buda.
23 OctoberNational DayNemzeti ünnepMemorial Day for the 1956 Revolution (which sought, among other things, for the withdrawal of Soviet soldiers from Hungary and democratic elections). It is also the anniversary of the establishment of the Third Hungarian Republic (1989). Speeches and exhibits were held to commemorate the occasion.
1 NovemberAll Saints DayMindenszentekDay of Remembrance for the Dead Graves in Christian cemeteries are adorned with flowers and candles by family and friends of the deceased.
25 DecemberChristmasKarácsonyMost families meet to celebrate the 24th (“Szenteste”) at about 4 p.m., putting gifts beneath a Christmas tree that has been decorated while the youngsters are gone from the home. In order to commemorate the occasion, gifts are unwrapped and a big dinner is consumed. People typically visit relatives on the 25th and 26th of the month.
26 DecemberSecond Day of ChristmasKarácsony másnapja 

Remembrance days endorsed by the state

In Hungary, Remembrance Days are working days.

DateEnglish nameLocal nameRemarks
1 FebruaryMemorial Day of the RepublicA köztársaság emléknapjaSince 2006, a memorial day has been observed to commemorate the legislation (1946. évi I. törvény) on the establishment of the republic in 1946.
25 FebruaryMemorial Day for the Victims of the Communist DictatorshipsA kommunista diktatúrák áldozatainak emléknapjaBéla Kovács, Secretary-General of the Independent Smallholders’ Party, was imprisoned and deported to the Soviet Union on this day in 1947. Commemorations on Memorial Day have been held at high schools since 2000.
16 AprilMemorial Day for the Victims of the HolocaustA holokauszt áldozatainak emléknapjaSubcarpathia’s Jews were gathered up and put into ghettos on this day in 1944. Commemorations on Memorial Day have been held at high schools since 2001.
21 MayNational Defense DayHonvédelmi napThe Battle of Buda (1849)
4 JuneDay of National UnityA nemzeti összetartozás napjaCommemorating the signing of the Treaty of Trianon, which resulted in the loss of 72 percent of the Kingdom of Hungary’s territory. Since 2010, Memorial Day has been observed as a national holiday.
19 JuneDay of the Independent HungaryA független Magyarország napjaCommemorating the execution of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution victims (on June 16, 1958), as well as the conclusion of the Soviet occupation of Hungary. Since 2001, Memorial Day has been observed.
6 OctoberMemorial Day for the Martyrs of AradAz aradi vértanúk emléknapjaThe anniversary of the execution of the 13 Martyrs of Arad after the loss of the Hungarian Independence War in 1849. Commemorations on National Memorial Day are held at high schools.

Holidays not endorsed by the state

DateEnglish NameLocal NameRemarks
8 MarchInternational Women’s DayNemzetközi nőnapWomen get flowers and presents from their jobs, while students often send gifts for their instructors.
6 DecemberSanta Claus, Saint Nicholas DayMikulásTélapóEvery Hungarian kid polishes his or her boots and hangs them in the window on this day. Mikulás appears in the middle of the night and fills them with chocolates and/or little gifts. If they were naughty, they could receive sticks instead of, or in addition to, gifts.
31 DecemberNew Year’s EveSzilveszterYoung folks party till the wee hours of the morning. Paper trumpets, hoots, and the burst of champagne corks fill the streets, and individuals often wear masks and hurl petards. Those who remain at home typically watch comedy designed for the occasion, and around midnight they drink champagne and wish each other luck in the new year. At midnight, national television networks aired the orchestral and choral national anthems, followed by the President’s address. Fireworks shows are frequent. The following day, the streets remain as deserted as ever, and people sleep for extended periods of time (or sleep themselves sober). Lentils are eaten to represent money for good luck.
MoveableCarnivalFarsangA six-day regional carnival, originally celebrated by the Šokci (ethnic-Croatians) living in the town of Mohács. Traditions include folk music, masquerading, parades and dancing.

Special events

Budapest Spring Festival (mid-March to mid-April), Hortobágy Equestrian Days (late June), Sopron Early Music Days (late June), Festival in Budapest (late June), Miskolc Opera Festival (late June), Miskolc Kalálka International Folk Festival (July), Gyr Summer Festival (late June), Gyr Summer Cultural Festival (late June to late July), Pannon Festi (late June to late July), Pannon Festi (late June to late July), Pannon Festi (mid-September to mid-October).

St. Stephen’s Day (August 20) is marked with sports events, parades, and fireworks throughout the country. On the same day, Debrecen has a Floral Festival and Hortobágy hosts a Bridge Fair. The Hungaroring in Mogyoród, 18 kilometers northeast of Budapest, hosts Formula 1 automobile races in early August.

Budapest Spring Festival

This metropolitan festival was established in 1981 to meet the demands of Budapest’s cultural legacy as well as its requirements as a contemporary Central European center. By exhibiting and distributing cultural assets, the city’s image is enhanced and dynamic growth of cultural tourism is encouraged. This “festival of festivals,” which typically covers a wide variety of creative disciplines, offers a succession of homogenous artistic events that are connected by worldwide professional symposia. During the final two weeks of March, Budapest hosts the Budapest Spring Festival. The program’s primary focus is on symphony orchestra concerts, opera and ballet performances that will appeal to the broadest audience, but it also includes open-air activities and an Operetta Festival. The concerts take place at the capital’s most significant music halls and theaters, which are often located near historic landmarks. The Budapest Spring Event has grown to encompass a number of regional towns throughout the years — Debrecen, Gödöll, Gyr, Kaposvár, Kecskemét, Sopron, Szentendre, and Szombathely – and has thus become a national festival. The program usually includes famous international visitors, as well as prominent performers and ensembles from Hungary’s musical scene. Classical concerts, Opera House performances, open-air events, the Operetta Festival, the Dance House Convention, the Dance Panorama, and the exhibits are among the highlights.

Haydn Festival in Eszterháza

Haydn at Eszterháza: For the first quarter century of its existence, the palace was the main residence of the renowned composer Joseph Haydn, who composed the bulk of his symphonies for the Prince’s orchestra. Since its inception in 1768, the theater has been a significant venue for opera, frequently hosting more than a hundred performances each year. The palace was geographically secluded, which contributed to the musicians’ feelings of loneliness and boredom. This is evident in several of Haydn’s writings, as well as the well-known story of the Farewell Symphony.

The festival’s main goal is to recreate the musical paradise that Eszterháza was during Haydn’s time, inside the historic walls, using period instruments and performance practice. The programs are primarily concerned with pieces written during Haydn’s Eszterháza era, namely those belonging to the most significant genres (symphonies, string quartets, keyboard sonatas and trios). However, works by the “unknown Haydn” are often included on concert programs (baryton pieces, rarely heard church compositions, wind divertimenti, etc.). The festival’s goal is to bring together the world’s most exceptional Haydn performers to draw inspiration from the ambiance and acoustics of the venue, as well as to inspire one another via shared music-making. The majority of the performers perform only Joseph Haydn’s compositions, but in exceptional cases other works closely connected, either directly or through their composers, with Haydn, Eszterháza, or the Esterházy princes’ family – such as Mozart’s string quartets dedicated to Haydn, and certain pieces by Michael Haydn (the composer’s younger brother), Luigi Tomasini (le The majority of the performances are held in the palace’s enchantingly gorgeous ceremonial hall, which has excellent acoustics. The sala terrena, the center chamber of the original, smaller Renaissance hunting castle, hosts some of the more intimate, solistic performances. Some church music performances are held in one or more of the neighboring communities’ churches.

Győr Summer Festival

This event takes place every year from the second week of June to the second week of July. The Gyr Summer International Cultural Festival, which showcases Gyr’s cultural legacy, has a three-decade history. The events, which span a broad variety of genres, are organized into a series of distinct activities. Every year, for a month in June and July, the International Ballet Festival, the International Puppet and Street Theatre Convention, the International Folk Dancing and Folk Music Festival, and the International Handcraft Fair and Exhibition take over the city center, its atmospheric courtyards, and the banks of the Rába river. Visitors may witness performances by visiting theatrical companies and musical ensembles in addition to those by the hosts – the Gyr Ballet, the Gyr National Theatre, and the Gyr Philharmonic Orchestra.