Hungary National Day

Hungary National Day—also known as Saint Stephen’s Day, Constitution Day, and Foundation Day—is a holiday that’s observed annually on August 20th and celebrates the foundation of the Hungarian state. This is a public holiday in Hungary, and most schools and businesses are closed, while the general population is given a day off. Since it’s one of the biggest celebrations in the country, it’s also used as a day to promote tourism in Hungary. This is a good idea considering that there are fireworks, food, parades, and ceremonies held on this holiday.

The History of Hungary National Day

Before the 10th century, Hungarians were in constant conflict with other countries across Europe. In 955 A.D., Hungarians suffered a major military loss and decided to concentrate on building their own state rather than raiding other states. Stephen, the Grand Prince of the Hungarians, decided that the conversion of the Magyar would help to strengthen the state. In 1000 A.D., Stephen was crowned by Pope Sylvester II and became King of Hungary.

On August 15, 1038, Stephen died. On August 20, 1083, he was canonized by Pope Gregory VII and became Stephen I of Hungary. In 1092, Ladislaus I declared that August 20th should be a holy day, and it would be celebrated as Saint Stephen’s Feast Day for the next 679 years, until Queen Maria Theresa expanded the scope of the holiday in 1771 to an official national holiday. In 1950, the holiday was renamed Constitution Day, but the Hungarian Parliament would eventually reinstate the commemoration of St. Stephen’s Day to celebrate the foundation of the Hungarian state.

Observing Hungary National Day

All over Hungary, this holiday is celebrated with parades and other special events. There’s a huge display of fireworks on the Danube River every year, and they’re easily seen from many rooftops along the riverfront. The Hungarian flag is also raised on this date at Kossuth Square in front of the Hungarian Parliament. This is then followed by a food festival at which Hungary is presented with a birthday cake. Religious ceremonies are also a key component of this holiday.

Where is it celebrated?
Hungary (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
August 20 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
August 20 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
August 20 Sunday