Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Hungary, Lesson 6 - St. Stephen's Day
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 6 - St. Stephen’s Day. In Hungarian, it’s called Szent István király ünnepének napja.
If you’re planning to visit Hungary in the summer, it would be a shame to miss the fireworks in Budapest on August 20. This is the date that Hungarians celebrate Saint Stephen I, or in Hungarian I. Szent István király, the first king of Hungary. The meaning behind this celebration has varied wildly, owing to different political circumstances over the centuries. In this lesson, we will discuss this holiday in more depth.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
Do you know what the Holy Right, or Szent Jobb, is?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Almost one thousand years ago, on August 20, 1083, the relics of Saint Stephen I were canonized in the Basilica of Fehérvár. St. Stephen was the first king of the Hungarians and created the Christian Kingdom of Hungary which existed for almost nine centuries in the Carpathian Basin. This means August 20 is primarily a Christian, or keresztény, celebration, but during the 20th century it took on other significance as well.
Due to the strong religious and national content associated with this celebration, during the communist dictatorship speaking of it was not tolerated. Rather, the cunning dictators that controlled Hungary during this time took the opportunity to found a new state. The constitution, or alkotmány of the People’s Republic of Hungary was announced on August 20,1949, and the title of the celebration of St. Stephen was changed to the Day of the Constitution. In the Soviet Union, this day was the Day of the New Bread, and this meaning was also added to the Hungarian celebration. It was similar to the centuries-old harvest ceremonies, but in reality had little to do with celebrating the harvest.
The original meaning of August 20 with relation to King Saint Stephen was thus played down until 1989, when communism came to an end in Hungary. After the regime change or rendszerváltás, the day was pronounced as the official national holiday, or nemzeti ünnep, of Hungary and the popular Holy Right Procession was organized again. On this day there are different events everywhere in the country, but without a doubt, watching the fireworks, or in Hungarian tűzijátékok, of Budapest from the river bank of the Danube is by far the most spectacular part of the day.
Unfortunately these fireworks aren’t all about amusement. In 2006, there was a huge storm during the fireworks and five people lost their lives, and hundreds were injured when tens of thousands of people who had gathered to see the fireworks frantically tried to escape the storm.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know what the Holy Right, or Szent Jobb, is?
The Holy Right is the naturally mummified right hand of King Saint Stephen, and it’s a relic of Hungarians and all Christians. It’s kept in the Saint Stephen Basilica of Budapest in the Holy Right Chapel, but during the Procession it is on display for anyone to see.
Did you like this lesson? Did you learn any interesting facts?
When do you celebrate the foundation of your country?
Leave us your comments at HungarianPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.