A memorial plaque has been unveiled to 19th century Hungarian poet János Arany in the Welsh town of Montgomery, immortalized in the poet's famous ballad ‘The Bards of Wales’.
The plaque, which pays tribute to János Arany and his poem in Hungarian, English and Welsh, was unveiled by Ferenc Kumin, Hungary's ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Jill Kibble, mayor of the small Welsh town of less than 1,300 inhabitants, the Hungarian state news agency MTI reports.
According to the inscription on the plaque, János Arany's ballad (written in 1857) sings of the legendary heroism of the Welsh singers who, with death-defying courage, faced down King Edward I of England, who was conquering Wales, at the famous feast of Montgomery in 1277.
The text on the plaque also emphasizes that Arany's poem is a tribute to the heroes of the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-1849, an allegorical hymn celebrating the civilian courage.
One of the main organizers, Bálint Brunner, who is founder of the Hungarian Cymru Welsh-Hungarian cultural initiative, stressed that "for the first time in the 165-year history of the ‘The Bards of Wales’, the Welsh and Hungarian public commemorated János Arany together at Montgomery Castle, and this is a historic moment in Welsh-Hungarian relations.
He announced that from now on 14 May every year will be Welsh-Hungarian Friendship Day.
For the celebrations, the Welsh town was decorated with Hungarian flags, and after the unveiling of the memorial plaque, the Hungarian and Welsh anthems were sung and ‘The Bards of Wales’ were recited.
For the event, the local brewery produced a special bottled beer with a portrait of János Arany on its emblem.
János Arany and his ballads have been commemorated in Wales on several occasions in previous years.
In 2017, on the 200th anniversary of Arany's birth, Montgomery awarded the poet a posthumous honorary citizenship.
In the same year, a special light show bringing the story of ‘The Bards of Wales’ took place in the main square of Cardiff, the Welsh capital, honoring the memory of János Arany: a stylized image of the legend of the 500 bards sent to the stake in Montgomery by Edward I was projected onto the tower of the 12th century St John the Baptist Church in Cardiff using spectacular colorful light painting technology.
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