Hungary is still a Hungarian country, just as it was two hundred years ago, on the day of the birth of the anthem, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Szatmárcseke in eastern Hungary, where the author of the Hungarian anthem lies, on Sunday. He said that if there is a virtue that deserves the reward of survival, it is the attachment to oneself.
The Day of Hungarian Culture has been celebrated on January 22 since 1989, in memory of the fact that – according to the manuscript – Hungarian poet Ferenc Kölcsey completed the national anthem on this day in 1823. The commemoration of the anniversary is an opportunity to pay more attention to Hungarian traditions, and to strengthen national consciousness.
In his speech at the ecumenical service held on the occasion of the Day of Hungarian Culture, the Prime Minister said that it is fitting and just that the Day of Hungarian Culture is the day of the birth of the Hungarian national anthem. Viktor Orbán said that there is no other work of Hungarian culture over a thousand years that can lift hearts like the Hungarian national anthem.
He stressed that although the genre of the anthem is prayer, and thus requires a deep and serious posture of penitential humility, it is not sung on our knees and certainly not with our heads bowed, but standing upright, steadfast, almost boisterously, and always with heads held high.
While we read or sing Ferenc Kölcsey’s poem, he added, we feel that the message intended for us “rises to us from somewhere in the bottomless well of the past,” as if it were “a message from hundreds of generations, from the prehistoric times of the Hungarians who lived before us, a message that is lost in the mists of time that starts from our first ancestors and embraces all Hungarians who have lived until now.”
The Prime Minister said that the anthem reminds us that we Hungarians – like all Christian people who understand what sin and forgiveness are – have good reason to repent.
We Hungarians are not without sin. Our faults and shortcomings are many. The question is what to do with this recognition and admission,”
He said that Kölcsey put down on paper the most important sentence in Hungarian historical literature: ‘This people has been already punished for the past and the future.’ Orbán said that read from a Christian perspective, this is not a “bonus, a free ticket, or a passport” for committing further sins. “With a Christian spirit, this sentence means that although the number and extent of our sins may be high, God has not wiped us off the face of the earth. Even if He has punished us, He allows us to continue our history. The only reason for this may be that our virtues and merits are numerous, which means that we have earned the right to have a future,” he said.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (front, R) at the ecumenical service held on Hungarian Culture Day at the Reformed Church in Szatmárcseke. Next to him are his wife Anikó Lévai, Zsolt Semjén, deputy prime minister, and Attila Tilki, Fidesz MP for the region.
The Prime Minister stressed that “our greatest struggles – sometimes peaceful, sometimes warlike – have always been fought so that we can remain who we are, so that we can live as we want to live” and not “as others tell us to live.”
He recalled that throughout history, there have been many peoples who have wanted to tell Hungarians how to live. The Prime Minister emphasized that we have always resisted, “we have always found our own paths of life.” According to Orbán, this is why
we must remain on the Hungarian side of history, even in the most complicated and difficult situations.”
He stressed that “we are the Hungarians, who are not and will not be inferior to other peoples, and in our own special nature we are at least as good and honorable a people as any other.” Everything else is up to God, he added. We will see in another two hundred years who will be left standing and who will be sifted out by history, the Prime Minister concluded.
Celebrations were held not just in Hungary, but also beyond the borders in Hungarian communities on Sunday to mark the Day of Hungarian Culture. Árpád János Potápi, Secretary of State for National Policy at the Prime Minister’s Office, gave a speech in Galánta, Slovakia, where he stressed that the richness of our culture is a source of strength for our perseverance even in the most difficult times, and that is why we must learn about it in depth.
The celebration, organized by Csemadok, the largest Hungarian cultural and public organization in southern Slovakia (also called Felvidék in Hungarian), commemorated the 200th anniversary of the completion of the Hungarian anthem, and Csemadok’s lifetime achievement awards and other honors were presented.
“Our culture is unique! But it is important not only because of its antiquity, but also because it represents value for us in a century that has lost its values. Building on our national culture, we can survive in the face of the adversities and uncertainties of the 21st century,” said Potápi.
He stressed that unity is the guarantee of our nation’s survival. He added that in order to turn diversity into unity, goodwill is needed at all times, and this unity and goodwill have been the secure foundation of the Hungarian nation in the past.
Featured photos via MTI/Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Benko Vivien Cher