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March 15, Hungarian National Day

One of the activities I most enjoy when traveling are national holidays, festivals and other cultural events and since I know a few of us will be in Budapest on 15 March I wanted to say good choice of date. Here are some of the activities:

The holiday celebrates the 1848 Revolution that led to the Dual Monarchy (Austro-Hungarian Empire) which survived until WWI. After that he continued as an independent monarchy ruled not by a king, but by an admiral; an admiral in a country with no navy.

In past years the event has been celebrated with great gatherings of citizens at The Hungarian National Museum and at Szabadság tér (Independence Square) and at the Parliament located at sort of opposite ends of the inner loop road. One gathering right wing, the other left wing.

I had an enjoyable visit one year sitting in a chilly outdoor cafe watching the police in full black riot gear (RoboCops) running in one direction and then the other. Sometimes to provide reinforcement and other times chasing small groups waving unusual flags.

Another year I rounded a corner from the flat I was staying in and found myself in front to the Opera House, then being quickly forced by the gathered mob to the center of the protest. Not a wholesome looking group either.

To give Orban credit for a moment of wisdom he has caused the radical militias, right and left, to be disbanded and that has helped I presume.

Now as you can read, I have only seen things turn sour twice in maybe six times I have been there during the holiday. But with as divided as the world is today, who knows.


Stay away from protests if there are any. You wont get hurt (Hungarians are pretty non violent) , but you might get rounded up with the others when the police show up. And you may not want photos of you at a commie rally being circulated on the internet.

Carry your passport as it is required by the law in Hungary and most countries in Europe; even France (the law in Hungary is Passport or National Identification Card which rules out a state driver’s license); and not a photo copy because thats not the law either. I think following the law is just common courtesy and respect when you are a guest in someone else's home.

Keep your passport in a pocket or bag outside of your pants. If you were to find yourself in a position that requires showing it, you really don’t want to be unzipping your trousers and reaching into your hidden pocket in your groin area …. I think that alone would get you a free ride in the Paddy Wagon.

Or don’t. With the few experiences I have had with the local cops they seem pretty decent and if you start begging in English I suspect they will help get you clear; or maybe not, who knows? Personally, I would arrest you though.

I may have said too much, but in reality I would not worry a bit. The odds of anything unpleasant are probably on par with getting food poisoning from the airline food. Oooops!!!

See you in Budapest 15 March!

Posted by
6503 posts

So in Budapest, don’t Beware the Ides of March, embrace the day.

Posted by
15091 posts

You might be pushing your luck to order Caesar Salad on that day and Italian tourist might want to stay away from government buildings.