St Stephen's Day

20 Aug 2017
Danube, Budapest, Hungary

Hungary's first king takes pride of place at a festival full of drinking, dancing, concerts and processions.

St Stephen's Day commemorates the foundation of the Hungarian state by Stephen I, the first King of Hungary who was canonized by Pope Gregory VII on August 20th 1083.

He became the patron saint of Hungary. As part of the canonization process, King Stephen's remains were dug up and legend has it that his right hand had not decayed at all. The hand was removed from the body and can still be seen in St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest.

August 20th is therefore a day marked with drinking, dancing, concerts and processions. The grand finale is a half-hour display of fireworks over the Danube which starts at around 9 pm. Enjoy a fantastic view from the upper deck of a ship anchored on the Danube.

Last year, the celebrations began with the raising of the Hungarian flag in Kossuth tér and continued with an open day at the Parliament. There was also a cake cutting ceremony, as it's now become a tradition to select an official cake for Hungary on August 20th. You can even have a slice by visiting the 'Street of Hungarian Flavours' festival on the Danube embankment.

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