Hungary has such a rich history, as it should because it's been the nation of the Magyars for over 1000 years! Americans cannot comprehend that. We think things that are 100 years old are just ancient, while that is no big deal here. I love that part of Europe. I love how old everything is. Of course that is not always good (buildings falling apart, things that don't work, etc.), but I do enjoy the history, culture, and architecture here. Amazing!
With a history such as theirs, there are many major holidays to celebrate, the most important being August 20, Hungary's national holiday, kind of like the US's Fourth of July. They celebrate Szent István, the first king of Hungary who basically united all of the Magyar tribes into one nation. He also turned them from a pagan nation into a Christian nation back in 997. Yeah, so that was over 1000 years ago. :)
Then there are a couple revolutions they celebrate as national holidays, one being October 23, 1956. From what I understand it was not a planned revolt of the people but rather a suprise uprising of the nation against Stalin and the Soviet government. 2500 Hungarians were killed (as well as 700 Soviets), and hundreds of thousands fled Hungary as refugees. This day was later declared a national holiday after the fall of communism.
Then another big revolution they celebrate is March 15, 1848. I was unaware of this revolution holiday until this past Sunday afternoon when I wanted to run to the grocery store to get a few things and couldn't find a single thing opened except for a McDonald's and a gas station. I noticed flags flying, police patroling, and people gathering. I figured it must be a holiday. So I looked it up so I could learn. This revolution was against Habsburg rule, the ruling clan of Austria and that whole region. Poor Hungary did not win this revolution, nor did they win the one in 1956.
As they say, Hungary has never been smaller than it is today. It is slightly smaller than the state of Indiana. Despite losing so much over its 1000 years as a nation, these revolutions were the start of future events and stirred national pride among the Hungarians that would eventually lead to their freedom in 1989. I love how much pride the Hungarians have for their country and how they honor the men and women who lost their lives in their fight for freedom. I love seeing the red, green, and white flags flying everywhere and that they will wear little flags on their lapels. I love how people gather in the center of towns and villages to celebrate these days. Such a community feel.
I do love this country of Hungary. I don't think anyone can quite understand how precious freedom is unless they haven't had it. I have always been free. I don't know what it's like to be on the other side. But I do realize that freedom is a blessing, and it makes me grateful for all of the men and women in our short 233 year history as an American nation who fought and died for my freedom. It also made me think of how much we have to be grateful for as a nation that other people in the world are (literally) dying to have. We don't know how good we have it.