Happy Holiday Hungary! Today is Revolution Day. Every year on 15th March, Hungarians commemorate the beginning of the revolution against the Habsburg regime. Here are some ideas about Hungary’s National Holiday and about the events taking place in Budapest.
Brief historical background
The Hungarian Revolution of 1848 was one of the many European Revolutions of 1848 and closely linked to other revolutions of 1848 in the Habsburg areas. The revolution in the Kingdom of Hungary grew into a war for independence from the Austrian Empire, ruled by the Habsburg dynasty.
After a series of serious Austrian defeats in 1849, the Austrian State came close to the brink of collapse, thus the new young emperor Franz Joseph I. had to call for Russian help in the name of the Holy Alliance. Tsar Nicholas I answered, and sent a 200,000 strong army with 80,000 auxiliary forces. Finally, the joint army of Russian and Austrian forces defeated the Hungarian forces. After the restoration of Habsburg power, Hungary was placed under brutal martial law.
“We swear unto thee – that slaves we shall no longer be!”
“The revolutionary wave that had swept over Europe in spring 1848 resulted in a bloodless revolution in Hungary on 15th March. A bunch of Hungarian poets and writers formed the core of the radicals.
They were preparing for a demonstration on 19th March at their regular meeting place, the Café Pilvax.
They heard the news of the revolution in Vienna on the evening of 14th March so they decided to bring forward the demonstration.
The revolutionaries started to gather people while reciting Petőfi’s National Song and reading their demands worded in the 12 points.” (source: budapestbylocals.com)
Programmes in Budapest
The anniversary of the Revolution’s outbreak, 15 March, is one of Hungary’s three national holidays. This national holiday is commemorated at several different venues around Budapest. It starts with raising Hungary’s National Flag on Kossuth Square. The programmes are free of charge and range from great concerts to family entertainment.
The commemoration starts at the Parliament (Kossuth Square) at 8.00 a.m.
Between 08.00 – 09.45 during the celebration on Kossuth Square, visitors can enter the building through Gate XVII and leave through Gate I. Afterwards entry is through Gate XII.
The other major celebration venue is the Hungarian National Museum. It’s enjoyable to watch Hussar Trials between 10.00 – 18.00 at Táncsics Prison (Táncsics Mihály utca 9., district I.).
For families it’s really worth going to the Buda castle, to the Hungarian Heritage House and Szentháromság square more specifically, where various concerts will entertain children and adults alike from 10.00 a.m.
Other Venues in Budapest to celebrate 15th March
Petőfi Statue (Petőfi tér, near Elizabeth bridge, tram 2) and the Batthyány Eternal Flame (Batthyány Örökmécses, Báthori utca, district V., M2 metro Kossuth tér station)
Important note: shops and many services are closed on 15th March. Public transport services operate according to the holiday schedule, meaning less frequent services.
Free exhibitions and museums opened on 15th March:
Hungarian Natural History Museum
Hungarian Open Air Museum (Szentendre)