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15th March-Revolution Day-Programs in Budapest
March 14 - March 15
National Holiday in Hungary
On 15th March Hungarians commemorate the Revolution and the following War of Independence against the Austrian-Hapsburg rule in 1848-49.
This day is one of the most prominent National Holidays in Hungary with commemorations and family programs in Budapest and the rest of the country.
“Rise Up Magyar the Country Calls!”
The above line is quoted from the famous Nemzeti Dal (National Song) by poet Sándor Petőfi (1823-1849) and a prominent figure of the uprising.
On 15th March in 1848 he recited the poem from the stairs of the Hungarian National Museum (Múzeum körút 14-16., M3 (blue) metro, Ferenciek tere station) for thousands of people.
Petőfi’s passionate recitation marks the beginning of the revolution against the Habsburg regime. He was killed in one of the last battles of the war in 1849.
No Revolution day goes by without reciting the National Song on the celebrations at national monuments, especially from the stairs of the National Museum.
On 15th March Budapest and the rest of the country are dressed up in red, white and green, the national tricolours of Hungary.
People also wear tricolor cockades pinned to their clothes.
Public transport services operate according to holiday schedule, meaning less frequent services. See timetables at the Budapest Public Transport Company’s (BKK) website.
Most cafés and restaurants are open though, especially in downtown Budapest.
Bath Opening Hours Over the Holiday
Budapest Baths are open on 15. March 2017 according to Saturday opening hours and pricing.
Many other events accompany the celebrations including musical and theatrical performances.
Kids can go a round on horse back with the help of hussars dressed in traditional uniforms in the garden of the National Museum.
You can join the commemorations at several venues. Celebrations start with raising Hungary’s National Flag on Kossuth Square at 9.00.
A festive procession to the National Museum will follow the event.
Join the various family programs at various locations in Buda Castle.
All festive programs are free.
15. March – Wednesday, 08.00 – 12.30 – Open Day in the Parliament
Open day in the Hungarian Parliament on Kossuth Square, 08.00 – 12.30 .
Take a tour of the largest building of Budapest for free.
Note: Between 08.00 – 09.45 during the celebration on Kossuth Sqr., visitors can enter the building through Gate XVII and leave through Gate I. Afterwards entry is through Gate XII.
- Staricase Hall,
- Cupola Hall as well as
- the Holy Crown of King St. Stephen, first King of Hungary who established the Hungarian state and introduced Christianity.
You can also see a new museum called the Museum of Hungarian Parliament (opening hours: Mon-Sun: 8.00-15.45).
15. March – Wednesday
- Raising Hungary’s Flag on Kossuth Square, in front of the Parliament – 09.00
- After the flag-raising ceremony a procession will depart to the Hungarian National Museum to which anyone can join. The route: Kossuth tér – Alkotmány utca – Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út – Károly körút – Astoria – Múzeum körút. The procession will be lead by the National Equestrian Unit, the Budapest Garrison Orchestra and the Association of Hussar Traditions
- Memorial celebrations in the garden of the National Museum, starting at 10.30
- Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister will deliver a speech, followed by concerts, recitals and dance performances (Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, Csík János Band, Hungarian Defence Forces Central Orchestra.
Performances and Concerts for children on the open-air stage at Fishermen’s Bastion – St. Stephen Statue (Szentháromság Sqr.)
You can spend the whole day in the Castle since there will be a range of free programs at various locations starting at 10.00 in the morning:
Dance House, Dance performances – Hadik Statue, 11.00 – 17.00
Address: at the corner of Úri utca-Szentháromság utca
Concerts, Children Activities – Holiy Trinity Square, 10.00 – 18.00
- theatre performances,
- dance learning for children,
- giant puppet show,
- learning to play drum
Address: Buda Castle, Kapisztrán tér 2-4., district I.
15. March, Wednesday, 10.00-18.00
On Kapisztrán Square (ongoing programs)
- Hussar camp, armory and equipemnt presentation
- Horse patrols in the castle
- Hussar trial – skill tasks
- Fencing presented by the masters and students of the Hungarian Fencing School.
In the Courtyard
- Artilery equipment, display of a 6-pound cannon
- “Cannon charging” – playful exercises
- Recruiting game
- Playhouse – on the courtyard of the museum you can try your hands at various folk plays and games.
- Tricks of saber fight -presenatation by the Hungarian School of Saber Combat
On the Ground Floor of the Museum
- Weaponry display, craft fair,
- Wargame – toy soldiers, military games,
- photo exhibit, movie screenings ensure great programs and activities for the whole weekend.
- Dance House between 13.00 and 15.00: join the Honvéd Folk Ensemble to learn and dance the traditional recruiting dance of the revolution and war of independence, the verbunkos.
2nd Floor – Craft Workshops: shako, drum, cartridge pouch making.
Táncsis Prison, Hussar Trials, 10.00 – 18.00
Address: Táncsics Mihály utca 9., district I.
Various skill games await everyone – fun for all ages.
Visit the official website of the program organizer for up-to-date details.
Hungarian Heritage House, 10.00 – 18.00
Address: Szentháromság tér 6., district I.
- Craft worskhop on the 1st floor (hussar shako, cockade and flag making): 10.00 – 16.30
- Hussar trials for children (in smaller groups), 1st floor Rákóczi room: 12.00-16.00. horseshoe throwing, barrel riding, saber combat and various other skill games.
- Dance teaching on Szentháromság tér at 11.40 – 12.10, 13.40 – 14.10, 15.40 – 16.10, 17.20 – 17.50.
Craft & Gastronomy Fair in the Street of Hungarian Flavours, 10.00-18.00
Location: Buda Castle: Dísz tér-Tárnok utca-Szentháromság tér-Hess András tér
A National Day cannot pass without tasty local food and the usual whirl of an art and craft fair.
Hussar Camp at the Hunyadi Statue & Clark Adam Square, 10.00-18.00
Location: Hunyadi statue: Hunyadi út, Clark Adam tér (Buda end of the Chain Bridge)
Várkert/Castle Garden Programs, March 15, 10.00-18.00
Address: Lánchíd utca – Ybl Miklós tér 2., district I.
The beautifully renovated Southern bazaar of the Várkert/Castle Bazaar will host a program titled “The Revolution of Actresses” a play about what 6 prominent women did or did not on 15. March 1848.
Other Venues in Budapest for Commemorating 15th March
Besides the National Museum and Buda Castle, other places where official celebrations take place include
- Petőfi Statue (Petőfi tér, near Elizabeth bridge, tram 2) and
- the Batthyány Eternal Flame (Batthyány Örökmécses, Báthori utca, district V., M2 metro Kossuth tér station).
Count Lajos Batthyány was the prime minister of the first responsible Hungarian government in 1848-49.
He was executed by a firing squad at the site of the memorial during the Habsburg’s retaliation following their victory over the Hungarian army.
The eternal flame has been burning in memory of him since 1926.
Count Lajos Batthyány was the prime minister of the first responsible Hungarian government in 1848-49.
He was executed by a firing squad at the site of the memorial during the Habsburg’s retaliation following their victory over the Hungarian army. The eternal flame has been burning in memory of him since 1926.
The Hapsburg and their allies liberated Buda from the 150-year Turkish occupation in 1686. However Hungary did not become a free country but a province of the Austro-Habsburg Empire.
Hungarians fought against the Habsburg oppression throughout the coming centuries.
The most important anti-Habsburg movements include the Thököly movement, and the War of Independence in 1703-11 lead by Ferenc Rákóczi. The Austrians beat down these movements.
The first half of the 18th century was a period of compromise between the Austrian rulers and Hungary.
Influenced by the events of the French revolution, a new resistance movement, the Jacobin, emerged in Hungary toward the end of the 18th century.
Lead by Ignác Martinovics, the Jacobins’ main objectives were the independence of Hungary and transforming the country to a bourgeois society. The Jacobin movement failed too; the Habsburgs arrested and executed the leaders of the organization.
The Reform Era
The Hungarian Reform Era started in 1825 when at the diet Count István Széchenyi (1791-1860) offered his 1-year income to establish the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Széchenyi become a prominent figure of this era facilitating great developments in Budapest and the country. The other outstanding personality of this era was Lajos Kossuth.
The spirit of nationalism arose in other European countries and capitals and they only heightened the enthusiasm of Hungarian reformers.
On political level Lajos Kossuth’s fiery speeches provoked anti-Habsburg feelings while Sándor Petőfi roused common people through his uplifting poems.
He’s Hungary’s most celebrated romantic poet and a fervent fighter for the nations independence.
He roused the Hungarian people against the Austrian-Habsburg oppression reciting the verses of his National Song/Nemzeti Dal from the steps of the National Museum on the morning of March 15. in 1848 (though according to current knowledge this is just an urban legend).
He also participated in drawing up the famous 12 points (also recited from the steps of the museum ) – a summary of the Hungarian revolutionaries’ demands. He wrote nearly 1000 poems during his short life (around 875 survived and are known today).
Every Hungarian knows his best-known romantic poems by heart. Some of them like the At the End of September were translated into most languages of the world.
His epic poem János Vitéz/John the Valiant is also very popular. It’s been made into a musical, puppet show, cartoon, and rock opera.
Petőfi also wrote a lot about his homeland the Great Plain/Alföld (Az Alföld, A Tisza, A puszta, télen) raising the bleak “puszta” to poetic heights.
In the War of Independence of 1849 he fought in the Hungarian army as captain. He thought to had been killed (or captured) in the last and lost battle of the war, at Segesvár on 31. July in 1849.
Today many street names, statues, memorials, museums keep his memory in Hungary and the neighbouring countries of the Carpathian basin.TIP: The Petőfi Literary Museum in the Károlyi Palace (Károlyi utca 16., district V., downtown Budapest) has one of the largest collections on the works of Petőfi as well as a permanent exhibition on his life complete with audio-visual tools and apps. Admission: 600/300 HUF.
The Revolution on 15th March 1848
The revolutionary wave that had swept over Europe in spring 1848 resulted in a bloodless revolution in Hungary on 15th March. A bunch of Hungarian poets and writers formed the core of the radicals.
They were preparing for a demonstration on 19th March at their regular meeting place, the Café Pilvax.
They heard the news of the revolution in Vienna on the evening of 14th March so they decided to bring forward the demonstration.
The revolutionaries started to gather people while reciting Petőfi’s National Song and reading their demands worded in the 12 points (kids at school has to learn it by heart when they learn about the Revolution).
The most important demands were:
- freedom of press, abolition of censure
- freedom of religion
- a national bank
- abolition of feudal conditions
The mass lead by Petőfi in the pouring rain occupied a press and printed out the poem and the 12-points. The Hapsburgs didn’t dare to intervene. Despite the rain an even bigger crowd gathered in the garden of the National Museum by afternoon.
Following the events on 15th March a Hungarian delegation went to Vienna to tell their demands to Ferdinand V. After several discussions the Habsburgs accepted an independent Hungarian ministry lead by Count Lajos Batthyány.
“We swear unto thee – that slaves we shall no longer be!”
In summer 1848 Vienna decided to take action against the Hungarian revolution. The ethnic minorities living in Hungary weren’t happy with the Hungarians’ victory. The Croats allied with Austria and their troops attacked and invaded Hungary.
Despite the Habsburgs’ more power and larger army, they weren’t strong enough to defeat Hungarians so Austria convinced Russia to provide support for breaking down the Hungarian War of Independence.
Despite being a small country, Hungary humiliated Austria by fighting tooth and nail and she emphasized this by surrendering not to the Emperor but to the Russian Czar in August 1849.
Age of Terror
Following the defeat, retribution began. Fourteen generals were executed at Arad on 6th October 1849: Count Batthyány Lajos, Hungary’s first prime-minister was shot at Pest, and thousands were sentenced to death or prison.
The Habsburgs built the Citadel fortress on Gellért Hill at that time with cannons directed at the town below.
The age of terror stifled Hungary in the coming years.Related: More Events, Things To Do in March – Easter Programs and Traditions – Easter Festival in Buda Castle – Spring Festival 2017. – April Events – May Day Programs – St. Stephen’s Day August 20. – October 23. 1956 Revolution