I have always wanted to visit a country during one of their national holidays.
Normally my vacations have never really lined up that perfect.
Luckily on August 20th I was able to celebrate St. Stephen’s Day in Budapest.
In August of 2015 I decided to revisit Hungary.
To my surprise I was going to be there during St. Stephen’s Day(Szent István ünnepe).
Stephen(Istvan in Hungarian) was the first king of Hungary in 1000 A.D. and he founded the Hungarian state.
In other words, this is a big holiday for Hungary.
Therefore Budapest had activities all day and night throughout the city.
What To See and Do:
1. In the early morning the Hungarian flag is raised in Kossuth Square in front of the Parliament.
2. There are concerts and dance performances at Varkert Bazar/Castle Bazaar all day.
3. The Parliament building is open FREE of charge from 10 am – 6 pm.
That is where you can view St. Stephen’s Holy Crown.
4. ‘Street of Hungarian Flavors’ happens all day at the Danube Embankment in Buda.
5. The Festival Of Folk Arts is also happening that same weekend at Buda Castle.
6. The blessing of new bread and a harvest procession starts at 2:30 pm at Szent Gyorgy ter in Buda Castle.
It ends at the statue of St. Stephen(Fishermen’s bastion).
7. Holy Mass and the procession of St. Stephen’s Holy Right Hand happen at St. Stephen’s Basilica at 5 pm.
8. Last but not least; the Fireworks!!!
The firework show starts at 9 pm and lasts about 30 minutes.
Fireworks and Booze Cruise.
The fireworks were the main thing I was looking forward to.
I was going to have one of the best views from a Booze Cruise on the Danube River!
Therefore I was a little more excited than usual.
The Retox Party Hostel organized a Booze Cruise for St. Stephen’s Day after the firework show.
The ticket included 2 hot dogs and FREE beer and champagne for the whole duration.
The beer of the night was a disgusting piss flavored beer known as Rakoczi.
It has to be the PBR or Milwaukee’s Best of Hungarian beer because this stuff was utter garbage.
It was the only free beer available.
Even though I’m not a big fan of beer I’m even less of a fan of champagne.
Basically it became a choice between the lesser of 2 evils.
Aside from gross beer and 2 Aussies dancing with their dicks out(I’m absolutely serious), I had a fun night.
Met some awesome people and generally had a good time floating on the Danube.
Even though I mostly enjoyed the Booze Cruise I also enjoyed the rest of the city during the holiday.
There was a fun party vibe in the air while exploring the city earlier.
There was a feeling of celebration all around.
After this experience, I plan on visiting more countries during their national holidays.
Have you ever celebrated St. Stephen’s Day in Budapest or somewhere else in Hungary?
What countries have you been to for their national holidays?
Let me hear your stories.