Chinese-Hungarian international relations seem to be really great right now, and maybe because of this, it would be worth learning about one another’s culture. A Hungarian who lived in China for 8 years made a video about what Chinese people know about Hungarians.
Many people know about Budapest, the thermal baths, the food, the bridges that connect the two sides of the capital, and they know about Heroes’ Square or that Hungary was a socialist country in the past. However, more interesting things were mentioned in the video.
The YouTuber found out from a taxi driver that a famous Chinese actor, Qiang Chen, visited Budapest in the 1950s, and during this visit, he got the news that his first son was born. After the famous Hungarian capital, his son got the name Buda, and his second son was named Peisi (after Pest).
On October 3, 1949, Hungary was among the first countries that acknowledged the People’s Republic of China. On 6 October, the two countries arranged to have international relations, and exchange students were welcomed in both countries. The experience was memorable for both Hungarian and Chinese exchange students. This is why elderly Chinese people, for example, remember one of the greatest football players in history, Öcsi Puskás.
The YouTuber mentioned one more interesting piece of info. Older people really know about Hungarian football and the golden era of the sport for Hungary, but the younger generation often speaks highly of Hungarian football because they, in fact, think about Spain. The YouTuber also mentioned that the sounding of the words “Spanish”, “Hungarian”, and “Syrian” in the Chinese languages is very similar and easy to mishear or misunderstand.
She also said that Budapest is well-known among Chinese people, and they often associate it with the film called The Grand Budapest Hotel. Another movie that Chinese people may know is Szomorú vasárnap (Gloomy Sunday – A Song of Love and Death), a Hungarian-German coproduction that has a different title in China. The movie is called something like Love in Budapest, which makes the association easy. The movie tells a fictional story connected to the creation of the infamous song “Gloomy Sunday”.
But besides Hungarian movies, Chinese people also know a Hungarian poem written by Sándor Petőfi.
This poem is included in schoolbooks, and the poet even has a statue in Beijing. The poem was translated so well that Chinese people allegedly do not even realise that the original version of the poem is actually in a foreign language. There are some differences, though, when it comes to the translated poem, but the essence of it does not change. The original poem in a very basic Google translation is the following:
Freedom, love! (in Hungarian: Szabadság, szerelem!)
I need these two.
I sacrifice for my love
I sacrifice for freedom
As the YouTuber said, elderly Chinese people know about the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or Princess Sissi, officially Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Others know about the prehistory of Hungarians and that some theories state that the Hungarians have the Huns as one of their ancestors. The Huns are indeed mentioned in Chinese historical writings, and the Great Wall of China was built against the enemy, including the Huns. Some Huns eventually found their home in China, and nowadays, some people also have the Huns as their ancestors.