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Hungarian National Day at the Sanghai Expo

Up to 2,000 visitors watched the Gala Evening of the Hungarian National Day at the World Expo 2010. On the whole, the Hungarian Pavilion at the World Expo is a huge success, according to the organizers.

During the Shanghai Expo every nation has its own “Honor Day.” This is an extra opportunity for the attending countries to present their culture. Hungary’s “Big Day” was Aug 22. The highlight of the Hungarian National Day was the evening gala entitled “The City and the Music,” with Erika Miklósa, Bea Palya, Ferenc Snétberger, the ExperiDance, and the Contemporary Ballet of Szeged on stage. Following the National Day, a two-week-long program series entitled “Art Forum Hungary” started, with more cultural events in downtown Shanghai, at MoCA (Museum of Contemporary Art). Programs include animated film screenings, a Kati Zoób fashion show, concerts, round table discussions and exhibitions devoted to the photography of Robert Capa and Hungarian-born László Hudec, who worked as the head architect of Shanghai in the 1930s.

Present at the event, Zhu Zushou, governmental vice-commissioner of the Expo 2010 Shanghai, emphasized the fact that Hungary was among the first country to establish diplomatic relationship with the People’s Republic of China more than 60 years ago. Meanwhile, Géza Szõcs, Hungarian Cultural Under-Secretary highly praised the smooth operation of the World Expo and said that the new government of Hungary will strive to deepen the friendship between the two nations and encourage the economical cooperation. He highlighted that a growing number of Hungarian high-school and university students learn Chinese language and apply for scholarships to China. “Also, Europe’s one and only Hungarian-Chinese bilingual primary school operates in Budapest,” he added.

Hungary steals the show

The number of people who visited the Hungarian Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo so far nears one third of the population of Hungary. In August the Hungarian Pavilion welcomed its 3, 333, 333rd visitor. “The number of registered visitors highly exceeds our expectations,” organizers say. “Every 12th Expo-visitor comes to see our national pavilion, too. The unique architecture and the Gömböc (the first known homogenous object with just one stable and one unstable equilibrium point, invented by Gábor Domonkos and Péter Várkonyi, which also serves as the main theme of the Pavilion) made the pavilion extremely popular among Chinese visitors.”

Hungary participated regularly in World Expositions during the history of these great events since 1851. The World Expo Shanghai 2010 is the 23rd time when Hungary represents itself to the world. The first was in London in 1851, introducing several inventions, many of which have become world famous since then, such as Herend porcelain. At World Expo 1867 in Paris, Hungary presented itself as a sovereign county, independent from Austria, bringing Tokaji Aszú, Ganz machines and the Mermaid, Ödön Széchenyi’s steamboat, which was one of the biggest sensations at the time. During the years Hungary has participated in almost every World Expo with spectacular pavilions and scientific inventions.

Réka Alíz Francisck

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