20th August – Saint King Stephen’s Day, Hungary’s most important holiday
20th August is the greatest national holiday for Hungarians, which commemorates the foundation of the Hungarian state. Also called as St. Stephen’s Day, remembering Stephen I, the first king of Hungary and founder of the Kingdom of Hungary, who was canonized on 20th August 1083 by Pope Gregory VII.
Festivities start in the morning with the raising of the Hungarian flag at the Parliament, followed by speeches of leaders of Hungary, open air holy mass in front of the Saint Stephen Basilica, the Holy Right procession, air parade and oath of the new officers of the Hungarian army on the Heroe’s Square. Celebration continue on all day long. Those who frolic amid the cheerful Magyar crowds in Budapest can enjoy numerous events throughout the day citywide, including military processions, guided tours to the Holy Crown, a traditional festival featuring folk arts, and illuminated dinner parties at many of the city’s panoramic restaurants, presenting the birthday cake of Hungary, blessing the new bread, folkdance shows, music, and spectacular fireworks display over the Danube.