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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Hungary, Lesson 17 - Anna Ball
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Hungary Series at HungarianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Hungarian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 17, Anna Ball. In Hungarian, it’s called Anna-bál.
Say July 26 and Anna Ball of Füred, and Hungarians will immediately think of centuries-old traditions, a stunning bop, and a beauty contest. In this lesson we’ll travel back in time to the 1820s, to take part in this aristocratic ball. Get your ball dresses ready and let's go to Balatonfüred!
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question -
According to old tradition Anna Balls were preceded by "heart fishing". Do you know what kinds of hearts can be fished from the Balaton and who can perform this action?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The huge, luxuriously decorated ballroom, or bálterem, slowly fills up with more than 500 invited guests. Champagne glasses clink, and perfumes fill the air. To break the mood, full of expectation, the band starts playing the melody of the well-known díszpalotás, the traditional opening dance of the Anna Ball. The first dance of the Anna Ball is performed by the ballet artists of the State Opera House. In 2013, the Anna Ball was organized for the 188th time in Balatonfüred.
According to legend, the first Anna Ball was organized by Fülöp János Szentgyörgyi Horváth in honor of his daughter Anna-Krisztina, in the family's weekend house in Balatonfüred. Anna-Krisztina is said to have met her future husband Ernő Kiss during this ball; her husband was one of the Martyrs of Arad in 1849. In the nineteenth century the most popular ball, or bál, of the Hungarian aristocracy was the Anna Ball. Many famous people, such as Mihály Vörösmarty, Mór Jókai and Lujza Blaha danced the waltz at this ball. Anna Ball is still an eagerly awaited event for Hungarian public figures every year.
All 18-year-old girls in Balatonfüred are invited to the Anna Ball as first ballers. The beauty queen, or szépségkirálynő will be chosen from all of the ladies attending the ball. The winner of the contest receives the Apple of Eris and a Victorian-style Herend porcelain vase, or porcelán váza, while the two maids of the winner are given a Rothschild and Apponyi-design porcelain vase, also from the house of Herend. All invited guests receive a Herend porcelain heart as a memory of the unique experience.
Until the end of the 1980s, during the Communist regime the beauty contest of the Anna Ball of Balatonfüred was the only official beauty contest, or szépségverseny, in the country. The name of the winner can be found in all national newspapers and kept for eternity.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
According to old tradition Anna Balls were preceded by "heart fishing". Do you know what kinds of hearts can be fished from the Balaton and who can perform this action?
Before the Anna Ball the ladies of the ball go out "fishing" on the lake Balaton on a decorated ship or boat. According to the tradition, they use nets to pull wooden hearts out of the water with the names of their partner for the ball, and possibly future husband, on them.
Did you like this lesson? Did you learn any interesting facts?
What’s the most popular event among the characters in public life in your country?
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