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What Do Hungarians Celebrate on the 22nd of January?

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

22nd of January is the day of Hungarian culture. In 1823, one of the greatest Hungarian poets Ferenc Kölcsey finalized the lyrics of the Hungarian National Anthem exactly on that day. It is the most important Hungarian poem ever written. A bit later, in 1844, the official music for the hymn was composed by Ferenc Erkel. Since 1989, the date is celebrated as the National Day of Hungarian Culture and the history of the National Anthem.

You can listen to the hymn and read English translation of the lyrics here.

On the 22nd of January, not only the hymn is celebrated – the written literature and poetry, famous writers and poets of the country are honoured as well. Every year Hungarians come together to show respect to their traditions, roots, and strength as a nation. Celebrations all over the country include ethnographic book exhibitions, concerts, traditional craft workshops, film screenings, folk music and poetry plays, anthem reciting competitions, literary contests etc. These commemoration events keep Hungarian traditions alive, and don’t let cultural values to vanish away. More than that, on this day, the most renowned honours in the fields of education, pedagogy, and the arts are all given out.

Interesting fact – if you look at a Hungarian passport under UV lights, the score of the hymn will become visible, which means that every Hungarian carries the text of it with them when they travel.

The 22nd of January is a day of great importance for every Hungarian, as the nation unites in a pursuit to celebrate their culture and traditions. As an international student, make sure to join the celebrations to show your respect to this beautiful culture and find out more about Hungary – there is always something new to learn!

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  - Janice Maeditere


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