Chilly weather on Hungaryʼs National Day does not cool spirits
Despite previously announced worrisome weather forecasts, ceremonies and festivities on August 20, the annual commemoration of the Foundation of Hungary, ended with no major problems. The Festival of Folk Arts in Buda Castle also drew a large number of visitors on the weekend, reports say.
Sunday proved unusually chilly and windy, so much so that one of the most eagerly anticipated programs – the jump by 24 paratroopers over Budapest – had to be cancelled.
In his speech delivered in heavy rain at the opening of the official ceremonies, President of the Republic János Áder noted that these days security has a different meaning than one decade ago. Hungary needs again to protect its borders and defend an independent, free and European country that has been shaped by the sacrifice, character and hard labor of millions of Hungarians since St. Stephen founded the country in 1,000 AD, Áder said.
Opposition parties Együtt (Together) and Párbeszéd Magyarországért (Dialogue for Hungary) had called for an anti-government protest in the afternoon; although the rain had stopped by then, participation was very low.
Huge crowds flocked instead to the Street of Flavors in Buda Castle, where 150 exhibitors offered homemade cheese, paprika jam, honey with chili, lavender and cinnamon, borsonline.hu reported. Concerts by ethnic Hungarian violinist Felix Lajkó on Saturday and singer and X-Faktor mentor Gabi Tóth on Sunday attracted thousands.
The annual fireworks started on time, at 9 p.m., and closed the day with a spectacular visual show.
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