The strength of March 15 lies in freedom and loyalty, the president said in his address marking the anniversary of Hungary’s 1848 revolution on Sunday.
In his address broadcast on television because of the coronavirus epidemic, János Áder asked Hungarians to commemorate 1848 at home “at this time under more modest circumstances, with a little bit more concern, but with trust”.
If Hungarians were able to trust one another 172 years ago, “we then can count on each other and rely on each other today”, he said.
“Despite the historical perspective, March 15 still feels close to us, because this day marks the birthday of a civil Hungary,” Áder said.
He said that the history of 1848/49 was full of outstanding human achievements that “keep the past alive for us even after such a long period of time”.
That history is full “of people who not only died, but lived, worked and fought for Hungary”, Áder said.
He said 1848/49 was more than a revolution or a heroic war of independence, it brought about change “in the soul of the country and in the nation as a whole”, he said.
Áder called on Hungarians to celebrate March 15 as the birthday of the nation.
“Let’s remember all those who made it possible for us to celebrate every spring as a season of freedom, loyalty and hope,” the president said.
Budapest is “a rebellious city” again, as it was in 1848, since it amounts to a rebellion that its residents took a stand in favour of freedom, equality and fraternity again in the municipal election last October, Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony said in a video message posted on Facebook on Sunday.
“It is not only the threat of the epidemic that deprives us of a joyful celebration”, Karácsony said. “When reading the twelve points of the 1848 revolution, we may have had the unsettling feeling for years how relevant these demands are, in fact, how they have become even more so(in recent years),” he added.
Karácsony said “thirty years ago we wanted these things to change and yet, the message of this peaceful, joyful and patriotic holiday seems to be getting farther away from us, maybe farther away than it was in 1989/90”.
“On this day, we wear the national colours over our hearts to remind ourselves and teach our children that we are as one in the most important things, our language and culture, our past and present, our failures and successes,” the mayor of Budapest said.
Karácsony said March 15 is a symbol of the idea that national sovereignty and social progress are not mutually exclusive, but mutually reinforcing concepts, adding that 1848 was simultaneously a rebellion of the progressive elite and the deprived masses.
“There and then, a social unity that we still desperately need was born. Especially now, in the midst of trouble, during the epidemic, when it is as clear as daylight that our destinies are bound together, here in this country as in every part of the world,” Karácsony said.
The Budapest City Council cancelled the municipal celebration of the March 15 national holiday more than a week ago because of the coronavirus outbreak.