I have been a terrible blogger as of late, but have a good excuse of being quite ill and just now ready to get back to thinking and clearing and typing and posting. So, I have a substantial back pile of pictures and trips and stories to post here.
The first takes a few steps back to All Saints Day. ASD is a much more celebrated holiday here in Hungary than in the US where it seems to be designated to small pockets of practicing Catholics and those Saint cards propped up on the lace tablecloths of grandma living rooms all over the country. But here they take it quite seriously. Most of the shops were closed all day, including many of the stalls in the market. In fact, there was only one bread baker opened in the morning and it cause quite a panic in the line of about a hundred people hoping for one of the last fresh loaves. As I’ve mentioned many times, people take their bread very seriously here.
As is the custom, people make the pilgrimage to cemeteries to lay flowers, wreathes, and light candles. The following pictures are from the Kerepesi úti temető (Kerepesi Cemetary). Opened in 1847, it is the national cemetery and houses some of the most beautiful and ornate mausoleums in the country (and in Europe, actually). Even though it’s quite famous, it’s not as loud and crowded as some of the other notable European cemeteries, such as in Paris, for example.
As with all national cemeteries, notable, famous and infamous people are buried there: artists, statesmen, actors, composers, writers, etc. Poets such as Attila József, János Arany, and Mihály Babits. The great physicist Loránd Eötvös, who discovered the gravitational gradient of Earth’s surface, and other scientists like George de Hevesy (who won the Nobel prize in Chemistry) are also buried among the groves. As is Imre Nagy, and Ferenc Erkel, the father of the Hungarian grand opera. I could get into the Communist political stuff associated with the cemetery, but for some reason it feels distasteful to me right now. Maybe another time.
The only woman I found on the list of the “famous” dead is Lujza Blaha, an actress and “the nightingale of the nation.”
This is a trend. And please note that if you are a translator or writer with a knack for languages and are interested in Hungarian (and a PhD or book), there is an absolute vacancy of recognized and translated Hungarian women writers. Even in the standby collections of national Hungarian poets, there are only a handful of women writers included. And while I can think of a lot of significant, important, central and eastern European women writers (my favorite of course being Wisława Szymborska), there really isn’t any visibility of Hungarian women writers, even among Hungarian nationals. So Hungarian feminist literary movement—here we come.
Now, back to the bone yard: