Hungary National Day

Saint Stephen’s Day, held on August 20th, is the most important national holiday in Hungary. It commemorates the founding of the Hungarian state and honors its first king, Saint Stephen I. This day is steeped in history, faith, and patriotic traditions.

Hungary National Day

What is Saint Stephen’s Day?

Here’s some background on this historic Hungarian holiday:

History and significance

Saint Stephen’s Day marks the foundation of Hungary by King Stephen I in 1000 AD. He led Hungary into Christianity and is remembered for establishing the Kingdom of Hungary.

Date celebration is held

It is observed annually on August 20th, the date of Saint Stephen’s death. It was declared a national day in 1891.

About Saint Stephen

To understand this holiday, it helps to know the story of the legendary figure it honors:

His life and legacy

Stephen was crowned in 1000 AD as the first Christian king of Hungary. He greatly expanded and strengthened the nation during his rule.

Establishing Christianity in Hungary

Stephen promoted the adoption of Christianity, defeated pagan resistance, and founded the Church in Hungary.

Celebrations on Saint Stephen’s Day

Hungarians celebrate their seminal national holiday with fervor through various events.

Flag raising ceremonies

Displaying the national colors

The red, white and green flag is proudly flown and honored across cities.

Cultural events and performances

Parades and processions

Festive parades feature folk dancers, music and marchers in traditional attire.

Concerts and festivals

Concerts, fairs and festivals with singing and dancing fill the streets and draw crowds.

Religious services and rites

Church masses and prayers

Special church services and masses are held to honor St. Stephen’s legacy.

Blessing traditions

The national holiday involves blessings of water, crops and livestock.

Traditions and customs

Hungarians partake in time-honored rituals befitting the day’s significance.

Family gatherings and feasts

Traditional foods enjoyed

Families come together for lavish meals with staples like goulash soup, paprikash and stuffed cabbage.

Exchanging gifts

Exchanging small gifts like flowers, cakes and cards is customary. Children are given candy and treats.

Folk dances and costumes

Colorful attires on display

Many don lively folk costumes like embroidered dresses for women and vests for men.

Traditional dance performances

Folk dance groups showcase lively national dances during parades and festivals.

Significance of the holiday

For Hungarians, this day holds profound meaning both historically and culturally.

Honoring Hungarian identity

Connecting to history and heritage

It allows reflection on their origins and a common identity rooted in the past.

Strengthening national pride

Displaying unity and patriotism

The celebrations evoke a strong sense of national pride and unity amongst all Hungarians.


Glorious Saint Stephen’s Day emerges as a hallowed national observance, harmonizing the Hungarian populace in a collective commemoration of their entwined legacy. This festive juncture unites hearts and souls under the banner of reverence for their inaugural Christian monarch, the progenitor of their nation’s inception. Saint Stephen’s timeless presence eternally personifies the quintessence of Hungarian ethos and civilization.