Hungary is preparing for its biggest ever St Stephen’s Day weekend, featuring a 34-minute fireworks show, a huge folk arts festival, and a celebration of Hungarian cuisine. State secretary for Public Diplomacy and Relations Zoltán Kovács announced that hundreds of celebratory programs will be held over the course of 3 and a half days at 17 different event locations.
Government spokesperson Alexandra Szentkirályi explained that the goal of this year’s celebrations is to help Hungary’s tourism industry, which was weakened due to the coronavirus pandemic. For this reason, pandemic restrictions will be significantly reduced for August 20 celebrations, as well as for the International Eucharistic Congress at the beginning of September.
Hungary’s August 20 Birthday Party Filled with Excitement
CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Agency (MTÜ), Zoltán Guller invited everyone to come to Budapest for the “gigantic fireworks show” which will be held on Friday (August 20), Hungary’s birthday. Taking place in the evening between the Margit and Petőfi bridges, more than 40 thousand fireworks will be shot up over the course of the 34-minute show.
Tens of thousands of people will be working for the success of the celebrations spanning from August 18 to the 22nd. Aside from countless quayside buildings being lit up, events will feature celebrations of Hungarian history, concerts, and various festivals.
In the morning, Guller explained, following the traditional inauguration ceremony of new officers, the president will hold a speech, which will then be followed by an almost 45-minute airshow at 9 o’clock above the Danube. A parade procession celebrating the emblematic figures of Hungarian history starting at Heroes’ Square will make its way down Andrássy Street.
There will be outdoor youth events all day, as well as performances from Hungarian musicians. The Buda Castle Garden Bazaar will be turned into the Street of Hungarian Tastes, a name which speaks for itself, and even a retro party will be taking place in Tabán.
Festival of Folk Arts to be Bigger than Ever
As is appropriate for the celebratory traditions, the Festival of Folk Arts will also be held from August 20 to 22, turning Buda Castle into a time machine of Hungarian heritage.
This will be the 35th Festival of Folk Arts, the largest festival of folklore in Hungary. This year entry will be free, and the main theme of the festival, spanning from Kapisztrán Square to Holy Trinity Square, will be fishing and hunting.
There will be around a thousand masters of folk arts showing their work and hundreds of different performances, including craft demonstrations, visual workshops, fashion shows, folk dances, and folk taverns.
The guests of honor this year are the Turkic nations, who will be representing themselves with Azerbaijani carpet makers, Kazakh traditional costume makers and felters, Uzbek batik artists and Tatar leatherworkers, as well as craftsmen from Turkey and Kyrgyzstan
Castle Garden Bazaar to be turned into a foodie’s paradise
The Castle Garden Bazaar will not be short of excitement either, featuring confectioners, bakers, and restaurateurs waiting for visitors on the Street of Hungarian Flavors, organizer Antal Novotny told MTI. The goal of the event is to showcase the rich cuisine of the Carpathian Basin.
The theme of the event means that there will be visitors from, among others, Transcarpathia, Felvidék, and Őrség. The slogan of “In the grass and in the trees,” places the festival’s focus on naturally healing herbs, plants, foods, spices, and drinks.
This festival will also be where the winners of the Cake of Hungary Competition and the Bread of Hungary Competition will be featured. The Cake of Hungary this year is Sándor Fodor’s “Sunflower,” the Sugar-Free Cake of Hungary is Krisztián Füredi’s “Rose of Beszterce,” and the Bread of the Year is Zsolt Varró’s “Gem of Solymár.”
The competition had an exclusive “One with Nature” competition as well, which fits the environmental theme of the festival. This year’s winner is Krisztián Füredi’s “Nimród.”
With so much going on next weekend, it would be a big mistake to stay at home, and those who find themselves by the quayside will not want to leave until the celebrations are over.
Featured photo illustration by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI