Today is the feast day of Saint Stephen the 1st of Hungary, who was born in 1000 AD. He was the last Grand King of Hungary and converted the Hungarian people to from Paganism to Catholicism. During his reign Hungary experienced many years of prosperity and peace, as Hungary became a popular trade route and Stephen practiced an active foreign policy. Hungarian folk tales today celebrate Stephen’s good decision making skills and his ability to judge fairly and unbiased.
The 20th is celebrated for birth of the Hungarian constitution, the foundation of the kingdom of Hungary, the saint day of St Stephen, and the consecration of bread. Fireworks are held all over the country on the 19th and again on Stephen’s feast day, this is also when the new bread gets blessed. In Budapest, Szent István’s holy right hand (which has a very long and interesting history) is paraded around his Basilica while surrounded by a holy procession. Both the 19th and the 20th are National Holidays in Hungary so the Hungarian people can be sure to celebrate properly. Saint Stephen and his hand are pictured above.