In the spring of 2005, the Hungarian Reading Society called everybody’s attention to the importance of the subsistence of our folk-tales. Their initiation aimed to pass down the wisdom of these tales to the next generations. So from that year, we celebrate the day of the Hungarian folk-tales on the 30th of September which is the birthday of Elek Benedek, “the great folk-tale teller”.
Elek Benedek (1859-1929) is one of the founders of Hungarian literature for children. Most kids have grown up on his fairy-tales. He knew that the first folk-tales play an important role in a kid’s life and it is the parents’ responsibility to choose the right ones. He wanted to help in educating with his stories. His tales are magical and educational at the same time; the kids learn morals while enjoying them. They are brought to another world where they can let their fantasy shine.
This is a heritage we all must treasure! On the day of the Hungarian folk-tales, the librarians, the teachers, the professionals and the lovers of tales turn to the folk-tales of our and other nations with marked respect.
This year we celebrate the day in Kecskemét. All together 62 Hungarian regions and 9 transborder regions joined the event. The ‘story teller side’ of Kecskemét is in the spotlight, but there are several programmes in all of the regions. There are reading circles in many primary and grammar schools, you can attend drawing competitions or take part in quizzes. Some regions aim to present their traditional folk-tales, some aim to present the new wave of folk-tales.
No matter how old you are, you can find a suitable programme for yourself. And this is really important! Folk-tales are ageless. This is how they have always been. Many people gathered around the fire or the table and told each other tales. This strengthened their unity in an entertaining way.
Folk-tales have always drifted from culture to culture, border to border, language to language. Still, they perfectly represent the characteristics of nations. They are a source of identity, tradition. If you want to know about a nation, read some of their folk-tales, they will bring you closer to their story.
Blissfully, Hungary is rich in folk-tales; we have a wide variety of them. We mustn’t forget this fair heritage!
“The tale is remedy,
the tale is a game,
the tale is a miracle,
the tale is belief,
and the tale is soul.
The smile of our soul.”
Tell a story! Continue the tradition!
Written by Alexandra Béni