1956 Revolution Memorial Day

In Hungary, the 23rd of October is celebrated every year as the 1956 Revolution Memorial Day. This holiday commemorates the Hungarian people’s revolt against the Stalinist government known as the Hungarian People’s Republic. Since this holiday also commemorates the creation of the Republic of Hungary on October 23, 1989, it is also known as Republic Day.

This holiday is usually observed with solemn national ceremonies and the raising of the Hungarian flag. There are usually several different programs on this day as well, which are attended by important officials such as the Prime Minister. Because this day is a public holiday, government offices are closed, but many shops still remain open.

The History of 1956 Revolution Memorial Day

During WWII, the Soviet Union helped to liberate Hungary from Nazi Germany, but after the war, the country increasingly came under Soviet control. Hungary had originally hoped for democratic changes after those changes had happened in Austria, but those hopes were dashed with the adoption of the 1955 Warsaw Pact. This pact placed Hungary securely under Soviet control and behind the Iron Curtain.

Unhappy with this result, Hungarian students began a demonstration in Budapest on October 23, 1956. This ignited further protests all across Hungary, and the Soviet Union would end up deploying military force to try to put them down. As Russian tanks hit the streets, it escalated the situation even further, and a violent rebellion began. The local communist government was ousted for a more democratic government.

On October 28, 1956, the Soviets called for a cease-fire. They then withdrew their forces and promised that they would support free elections. On November 3, 1956, the Soviets decided to go back on their word, and the Soviet military put down the rebellion and installed a communist government. On October 23, 1989, Hungarians proclaimed the Third Republic of Hungary and amended their constitution to permit multiple political parties, public assembly, and separation of government powers. In October of 1991, this holiday was proclaimed a national holiday.

Observing 1956 Revolution Memorial Day

This holiday is observed with keynote speakers, official public ceremonies, and the raising of the Hungarian flag. There are also concerts, parades, and other special events that take place on this holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
Hungary (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
October 23 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
October 23 Thursday
Last year (2023)
October 23 Monday