The Day of Hungarian Culture — the anniversary of poet Ferenc Kölcsey’s completing in 1823 “Himnusz”, the poem which later became the national anthem — was marked by celebrations held countrywide and in the Hungarian diaspora on Monday.
Marking the day, Zoltán Balog, the human resources minister, handed over prizes in recognition of achievements in public education, and welcomed in his address that “culture reaches more and more people” and hailed the increase in ticket sales for theatre, cinemas and museums. He argued that last year a total 32 million theatre and cinema tickets were sold, 21 percent more than in 2010.
Defence Minister István Simicskó spoke at a commemoration organised by his ministry, and highlighted the importance of “religious foundations for civilisation”.
He warned “Brussels and the European Union” that removing those foundations would weaken civilisation and its “existence would be questioned”.
The opposition Socialist and Párbeszéd (Dialogue) parties called for restructuring cultural institutions so that they serve “multicoloured Hungarian culture rather than politics”.
Gergely Karácsony, PM candidate of the two parties, said in an address in Heroes’ Square that “cultural policy in recent years promoted divisions rather than unity in variety”. If they won power in the next election, the two parties would “reinforce autonomous cultural endeavours” and ensure a financing mechanism to promote “unity in variety”.
Government devotes special attention to Hungarian diaspora communities
The government devotes special attention to Hungarian communities living outside the Carpathian Basin, including those living in Ireland, the deputy state secretary for policy for Hungarians abroad said at the opening of the family festival for the Hungarian Culture Days event in Dublin.
Péter Szilágyi paid a three-day visit to Hungarians living in Dublin and Cork, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
Hungarian culture is the bond that ties Hungarians together even if they are seas or oceans apart, Szilágyi said at the event, and expressed his pleasure that the local Hungarians remain committed to their origins and culture.
Szilágyi said the state secretariat for policy for Hungarians abroad had decided to set aside funding specifically for supporting Hungarian education in the diaspora communities.
He said the government aimed to provide support to all Hungarians living abroad so that they do not lose the bonds that tie them to their homeland and their fellow compatriots.