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The Hungaricum Committee has decided to include the Szekler Anthem in the list of Hungarian National Values, thereby increasing the number of Transylvanian national heritage values to six. This means that the anthem could even become a Hungaricum later.

The list of Hungarian National Values (Magyar Értéktár) is a collection of municipal, regional, county, and sectoral value directories, as well as the value directories of communities abroad. When something becomes part of it, it does not mean that it also becomes a Hungaricum. However, the Hungaricum Committee selects the most narrowly defined Hungaricums from the list, which are then included in the Collection of Hungaricums. And some seem to think that the anthem has a place in the collection.


The “Székely himnusz” (“Székely Anthem”) is a 1921 poem adopted by the Szekler National Council as the anthem of the Székely Land on September 5, 2009. The lyrics were written by György Csanády and the music for it was composed by Kálmán Mihalik. The composers’ intention was not to create a real hymn for the Szekler people; it was originally an insert song from a mystery play performed in Budapest, titled “Bujdosó ének,” and it did not appear in print until 1940. Over the decades, however, it has become an expression of the Hungarian sense of belonging, and although it was on the list of banned songs in Romania and Hungary until 1989, the authorities were unable to stop its spread. Today, it has become a well-known and popular song, and since 2009 it has been the official anthem of Székely Land (or Szeklerland, or, in Hungarian, Székelyföld).

Only the first stanza and the refrain are part of the anthem:

Who knoweth where, O where our destiny shall be?
On this rough road amid the darkest night
Lead on thy nation, O lead on to victory,
Csaba our Prince, on paths of heavenly light.

Pounded and crushed upon the rocks, the Székely few
By nations’ strife and battle’s deepest flood
Our drownéd heads, by countless tides were drenched through
Let Transylvania fall not, O Our God!

(Poetic English variant by H.W. Morrison)

“The Szekler anthem is an integral part of our everyday life, and we often do not even realize its value.[…] In the context of the upcoming census, it is especially important to understand that we are all Hungarians from Transylvania, and our diverse regional identities – including Szekler – only make us stronger as a community. I hope it will soon become a Hungaricum!” Csilla Hegedüs, President of the Transylvanian Hungarian Heritage Committee said.

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“The Szekler anthem – along with the coat of arms and the flag – is now an inescapable symbol of our regional identity. Its origins and afterlife are legendary, it has survived regimes and fashions, and it has emerged ever stronger as a symbol of the Szekler people’s will to live.

It is a national treasure, and its place is even among the Hungaricums,”

said Sándor Tamás, President of the Kovászna (Covasna) County Council, who submitted the proposal.

The other Szekler values that are also on the list are the art colony of Nagybánya, the Statue of Liberty in Arad, the life’s work of Kós Károly, the built heritage of Torockó, and the Law of Religious Freedom.

You can listen to the Szekler Anthem below:

Featured image by Márton Mónus/MTI

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