Today, at exactly 4.30 pm, thousands of bells across the Carpathian Basin signaled the moment the Treaty of Trianon was signed, when exactly 100 years ago, on June 4, 1920, Hungary lost 67% of its territory, 57% of its population, and nearly 3 million Hungarians were stranded outside the borders of the new Hungary.
On the National Day of Cohesion, the bells tolled in the churches of Catholics, Evangelic Lutherans, and in Reformed Churches alike to mark the exact date of the Trianon Treaty a hundred years ago, when Hungarian politicians signed the peace treaty in the Great Trianon castle in Versailles, France, which ended World War I.
Bell at the St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest. (Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI)
The Federation of Christian Intellectuals (KÉSZ) first came up with the idea in February to toll the bells in the churches of the Carpathian Basin. They recommended it and then called up parishes and congregations regardless of creed to toll the bells for 100 seconds at 4:30 pm on June 4th. Later in May, the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference also joined in the initiative. Zoltán Balog, government commissioner for social affairs and former minister of human capacities, and a priest of the Reformed Church of Hungary, also joined the call.
Bells at the St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest. (Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI)
The event, when around 15,000 bells rang at the same time across the Carpathian Basin, followed and remembered the events from a hundred years ago, when bells were ringing in protest, remembrance, and to call attention to the moment, in some places this lasted the whole day, while elsewhere in and around the singing ceremony.
Commemorations have been and are being held across the country and beyond the borders today to mark the 100th anniversary. In Budapest, in addition to the bell ringing, public transport also stopped for one minute at 4:30 pm, by the initiative of Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony. This also commemorated the events of 100 years ago, when public transport in the capital had stopped for 10 minutes at the time the Treaty of Trianon was signed in France.