Hungary’s traditional fireworks spectacle will feature a show with more than 26,000 visual effects on the August 20 national holiday celebrating Hungary’s first Christian king, St Stephen, a government official said on Wednesday.

State celebrations will start in front of Parliament with the hoisting of the national flag and the traditional oath taking of young military officers. The ceremony will be addressed by Hungary’s president and the defence minister. Programmes during the day include a military air show over the Danube featuring Gripen fighter jets and a holy mass in St Stephen’s Basilica.

The fireworks spectacle over the Danube this year has been designed using special software and will feature a surprise element.

Leading up to St Stephen’s Day are programmes starting on August 17 with the Festival of Folk Arts in the Buda Castle and a three-day gastronomy event offering specialties from the Carpathian Basin opening in the Varkert Bazaar on August 18.

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The 20th of August might as well be the most significant national holiday of Hungary with festivals, celebrations and fireworks everywhere. But what is it really about? Read a quick recap of the must-know facts about the background of and traditions connected to St. Stephen’s day.

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