Today, on the 20th of August, Hungary celebrates the day of St. Stephen and the foundation of the Hungarian state. According to Hungarian tradition Pope Silvester II, with the consent of Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor, sent a magnificent jeweled gold crown to Stephen along with an apostolic cross and a letter of blessing officially recognizing Stephen as the Christian king of Hungary. Later this tradition was interpreted as the papal recognition of the independence of Hungary from the Holy Roman Empire. The date of Stephen’s coronation is variously given as Christmas Day, 1000 or 1 January 1001. Shortly after Stephen’s death, healing miracles were said to have occurred at his tomb. Stephen was canonized by Pope Gregory VII as Saint Stephen of Hungary in 1083.
One of the main event on this day is the passing-out ceremony of the officers where they take an oath on Heroes’ square. The monument was built for the 1896 Millennium celebrations, that’s why it is called Millennium Monument. Hungary celebrated the 1000th anniversary that its ancestors found a place to settle down in the Carpathian Basin. Every part of the monument plays tribute to determining parts of Hungary’s history. The 36 meters high Corinthian column dominates the square with Archangel Gabriel on its top holding St Stephen’s Crown. According to the story Gabriel appeared to St Stephen in his dream and offered him the crown of Hungary.
The equestrian statues of the seven Magyar (Hungarian) tribes’ chieftains encircle the column. The seven tribes lead by Árpád arrived first in the Carpathian Basin around 896 AD to find out whether the area was suitable for settling down. A semicircled colonnade encompasses the column with statues of Hungarian kings and heroes.
Taking the oath:
A Mi-17 and two Mi-24 over the statue:
An-26 and L-39s in the air:
An-26 and MiG-29s:
Field show (Gyepshow) of the military bands:
A coming-out, Superman was there!
Going mad and dancing cancan:
Even the bandmaster went rock n’ roll while playing the Felszarvazottak balladája (The Cockold’s ballad):
Changing of the guards:
More pictures in the slideshow:
[mbspremium slideshow=”on” title=”St. Stephen’s Day” subtitle=”Budapest, 20.08.2009 “]