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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Hungary, Lesson 19 - Night of the Museums
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 19, Night of the Museums. In Hungarian, it’s called Múzeumok Éjszakája.
If you’re in Budapest on June 23, don’t be surprised if you see masses of people standing in long lines in front of museums, waiting to enter. This lesson will reveal the secret behind the hunger for culture on this Midsummer Night, and you can learn what "Night of the Museums" is all about.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
On the Night of the Museums you can see many unique things, one of which is the "snail parliament". What is this "snail parliament”?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Feasts, or ünnep are commonly held on June 23 in many countries as this is the day of the Summer Solstice, the shortest night of the year. In ancient times, people lived with a magical connection to nature, or természet. The custom of Midsummer Night’s fire lighting originates from that time; the aim of this tradition is to help the Sun in its struggle against the darkness. In Hungary, the Night of the Museums is held each year on the Saturday that is the closest to the Summer Solstice, to ignite the flame of knowledge, or tudás, and pass it to as many people as possible.
The Night of the Museums is a cultural event, introduced in 1999 in France. The Hungarian Ministry of Education decided in 2003 to join this tradition and turn people’s attention to museums, and dissolve the image of museums only being a place to see old, dusty objects and boring masses of information. On the Night of the Museums, Hungarians can visit all museums, exhibitions and other cultural institutions for the cost of a single admission ticket. The public can also easily move from one place to another on a special bus service provided throughout the night.
Initially the ability to participate in this exciting event was extended only to the people who lived in Budapest, but in 2013 the event was extended to the rest of the country, and thousands of programs in more than 300 locations were opened to visitors with a hunger for culture, in Hungarian kultúra. Because of the great success of the event, more and more theaters, community centers, and even circuses have joined in recent years. In the colorful patchwork of programs, everyone interested in natural sciences, arts, or history can find something to suit their thirst for knowledge.
One of the many exciting programmes in 2013 was held on a stage in front of the Museum of Szeged—a witch hunt famed in the city’s history came to life, and the witch, or boszorkány, who was declared guilty was burned at the stake. This of course is only make believe; the last witch to be burned at the stake in Szeged was in 1744.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
On the Night of the Museums you can see many unique things, one of which is the "snail parliament". What is this "snail parliament”?
The "snail parliament” is a miniature of the Hungarian Parliament, made from 4.5 million Pannon-marine shells. It can be seen in the doll museum of Keszthely. The Guinness record-holding mock-up is eight meters long and two meters high, and was completed over fourteen years.
Did you like this lesson? Did you learn any interesting facts?
Do you like going to museums?
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