August 20th is St. Stephen’s Day, which is one of the major national holidays here in Hungary. There are many parades and parties, and always extensive firework shows throughout the country. The day commemorates the transfer of St. Stephen’s old bones to Buda.
Stephen was Magyarland’s first king, and for introducing Christianity to the people (and a few miracles), also her first saint. It was my fourth St. Pistike’s day, and we had a nice little family firework watching from our living room window!
Here’s what I wrote last year about St. Stephen’s Day:
…he was born Vajk to the pagan chief Géza, was baptized as a Christian at ten, and after a long and successful battle with his eeeeevil pagan uncle, Koppány, ultimately brought unity to the Magyar tribes and Christianity to Hungary. Pope Sylvester II gave him a crown and in 1083, and Pope Gregory VII canonized him. The day is a public holiday in Hungary and it commemorates when St. Stephen’s relics were transferred to Buda. During communism, they tried to de-emphasize the saint-y-ness of the holiday and call it a celebration of new bread or celebration for the end of the harvest, but since then, the saint-y-ness has been back, baby!