The “Boldogasszony pilgrim train” leaves Budapest on Thursday and heads for Transylvania for the Csíksomlyói búcsú, maszol.ro reported. During its pilgrimage, the train stops in the following cities in Romania: Nagyvárad (Oradea), Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca), Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureș), Maroshévíz (Toplița) and Gyergyószentmiklós (Gheorgeni).
Based on the last few years, the organisers are sure that the pilgrims will be met at the stations by a great number of Hungarians living in Transylvania. László Budai, the executive director of the Misszió Tours travel agency, told MTI that they are expecting 850 pilgrims on the train.
On Friday, the pilgrims head to Madéfalva (Siculeni), Csíkszereda (Miercurea Ciuc) and finally to Csíksomlyó (Șumuleu Ciuc). Village-based groups called, in Hungarian, keresztalja make their way to Csíksomlyó from the train station or nearby villages, carrying their flags and banners. On the third day, the pilgrims from Hungary will attend the celebration as the biggest keresztalja. The fourth day of the event will end the celebration with an outdoor Catholic mass in Gyergyószentmiklós.
The Csíksomlyó Express pilgrim train from the Kárpáteurópa travel agency will leave Thursday night from Szombathely, stopping in Sopron, Kapuvár, Csorna, Győr, Komárom and Tatabánya. The train will arrive in Budapest Eastern railway station; then together with the Székely Gyors, they will form a 16 coach train and head to Szeklerland. The locomotive will be decorated in honour of Saint Stephen.
The first Csíksomlyó Pilgrimage dates back to 1567, when king John Sigismund wanted to forcefully convert the Catholic Szeklers to Protestantism. People from Csík, Gyergyó and Kászon gathered at Csíksomlyó during the Pentecost and prayed for the help of the Virgin Mary. The Szeklers won the battle and went back to offer their gratitude and swear that they will make a pilgrimage every year during the Pentecost.
This is a huge event every year, with hundreds of thousands of Hungarians travelling for days and gathering during one of the biggest Catholic celebrations. Click on the button below to see a photo report from last year’s event.
To learn more about the history of the Csíksomlyói búcsú, read our previous article by clicking below.