The national holiday of August 20 commemorates Hungary's first king, St. Stephen (ca. 975 –1038) and it is also the day of the foundation of Hungary. It is celebrated with programs all over the country. In the capital alone, twenty venues awaited visitors from Buda Castle to the City Park.
The central event, the inauguration of new officers, was held in front of the Parliament building on Friday morning. In his speech, the President of the Republic, János Áder stressed that “after decades and centuries, our national holidays are still a testament to our unity. They give us faith, make us proud, confront us with ourselves. They are important only for us Hungarians.”
He stated that “in the time of the epidemic, many suffered losses that were hard to comprehend. More than 30,000 of our compatriots fell victim to the coronavirus epidemic. … During the siege of the epidemic, when we had to endure new trials of strength day after day, when we lived from wave to wave, the liberated joy of celebration seemed more than a light-year away. When family was at stake, when we worried about tomorrow, who thought of the great deeds of past generations? At that time, we hardly saw ourselves as continuators of the glorious past, but more like our ancestors who had been tried in countless calamities.”
He added that “victory over the plague had its price. We fought for it, we suffered for it. It was our generation's task. We had to adapt, survive, start again. Just as our ancestors had to do so many times over the past thousand years. To adapt, to survive, to start again, so that we Hungarians – passionate, freedom-loving, faithful builders – could remain here, in the heart of Europe. So that there can be a healing, hopeful, thriving, growing life here in the Carpathian Basin.”
The celebration of King St Stephen was marked with a new concept this year: an unusual parade on Andrássy Avenue, featuring a chrome marketplace statue, a gilded statue of St Stephen on wheels and an installation in the shape of the Holy Crown.
Fireworks have long been a traditional event on August 20 in this country. This time, the government prepared a gigantic – and the most expensive ever – display for the founding of the state, with light shows shot from over four kilometers of fixed points along the Budapest stretch of the Danube and from barges.
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