St. Stephen’s Day


The August 20th National Holiday is a public holiday for all Hungarian, most shops and offices are closed. It is the annual celebration of the foundation of the first Hungarian state more than a 1000 years ago, it is also our first sainted king and founder’s, Saint Stefan’s name day, hence the date. The new bread is blessed on this day too.

The programs start on the day before, the 19th and continue on to the 20th, they consist of commemorations organized by political parties, family programs, concerts of folk and children bands, street and gastronomy festivals such as The Street of Hungarian Flavours (Magyar Ízek Utcája) along the Buda Riverbank where the country’s annual cake contest winner’s dessert is presented, craft festivals such as The Festival of Folk Arts and the festive mass at the Basilica in the heart of the capital (the mass includes a pretty important procession around the Basilica with a relic of Saint Stefan, his right hand). The festivities are closed officially by the grand finale of fireworks.

The fireworks start at 9pm and last a half an hour. You can see them from the high points of the city (mostly on the Buda side) or from the river bank. I do have to caution everybody that it is a huge event, for safety reasons there are a lot of road blocks and it’s really crowded. Basically people start gathering 1-2 hours before so it’s packed by the start, also there’s no way of sitting down. It’s not comfortable but it well-worth the effort. To be truthful most Hungarians don’t go see it live, because the Hungarian public TV channel broadcasts it live every year, so you can enjoy it from the comfort of your home beautifully edited with music. Last year I did go out however with friends… we had an insider at the Basilica so we could see everything from birds view on the topmost balcony… it was a once in a lifetime experience! Once again, a hundred thanks to a dear friend, Laci for arranging it! I even got a little bit teary eyed because I knew I was heading out from Hungary and not returning for at least 1.5-2 years. Now, teasers. These weren’t taken by me so see the credit down below. This photographer has awesome pictures of Budapest!



Photos by Gábor Haszon

If you are close to Hungary I suggest to head over and spend the day of August 20th there… and for all my compatriots: Happy August 20th! Let’s hope that the fireworks will be up soon on M1’s Media Library, here or on Youtube.

See you soon!

Hungarian Expression Of The Week #15

Nyár/Gn (like in cognac or the Italian gnocchi)-ar/Summer

Hungarian Expression Of The Week #14

Hétfő/Hate-fur (with silent r, ends with vowel)/Monday

My Hungarian expression posting day.

Hungarian Expression Of The Week #13


Because this is the 13th Hungarian expression!

Hungarian Expression Of The Week #12

Jó Nyaralást!/Yoe nyara-lashe-t!/Happy summer holiday

Hungarian Expression Of The Week #11

Boldog Névnapot!/Bowl-dog nave-nap-ot/Happy Name day!

Hungarians celebrate Name days too. Every name is written in our yearly calendar so we can keep track and greet people on their day. We give gifts (perhaps smaller ones, like knickknacks than on a Birthday) and get a cake too. My Name day was on this Saturday, May 27th. Thanks to all my family for the greetings!

Hungarian Expression Of The Week #10

Boldog szülinapot!/Bowl-dog sue-lee-nap-ot/Happy Birthday!

Hungarian Easter Customs

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I thought today is the right time to share some of the Hungarian Easter customs we have. Our Easter celebrations are a little bit different in some aspects.


Hungarian Expression Of The Week #9

Boldog Húsvétot!/Ball-dog Hosh-vate-oht! /Happy Easter!

Hungarian Easter Meal

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It’s Easter and it is one of my favorite holidays food wise. My Mom’s cooking is superb, she’s been doing it for 40 years and it’s hard to live up to but I always try. This year since being far from home and there’s no way of tasting Mom’s food I made our traditional Hungarian Easter meal by myself for the first time. It’s not a complicated fare… basically a cold dinner. 95% of the time we eat cold food for dinner and breakfast and only lunch is warm. For my family Easter starts on Saturday afternoon when we go to church, participate in an Easter procession and then go home to eat the first specially prepared dinner. I decided to prepare one for my friends yesterday. So the menu was …

  • Cooked smoked ham with horse-radish
  • Boiled eggs (there’s a little twist there, more down below)
  • Mildly sweet bread called Kalács/ca-laa-ch/
  • Radish