Zoltán Kovács: Preparations for the August 20 celebrations are on schedule

A total of 14 free venues will offer programs for the public between August 18 and 20 to celebrate St. Stephen’s Day, Hungary’s official state holiday, and preparations are proceeding according to schedule, the state secretary for international communication said at a press conference in Budapest on Tuesday.

Zoltán Kovács added that the events are intended to create a real festival atmosphere with hundreds of thousands of participants. This year, the World Athletics Championships, the second largest sporting event in the world, also coincide with the celebration.

The program on August 20 will begin with the ceremonial flag-raising ceremony, followed by an air parade. President Katalin Novák will deliver a speech in Esztergom, where she will also present the Order of St. Stephen medals. A festive mass will be celebrated at St. Stephen's Basilica, followed by the Holy Right Procession, and the ceremony will end with fireworks. The parliament building will also be open to the public free of charge, Zoltán Kovács said.

The organizers are also preparing artistic, light, folk and classical music programs, such as a free concert by Leslie Mandoki on August 18. The Street of Hungarian Flavors, the Festival of Crafts, and the Fashion and Design Festival will also be held.

The St. Stephen's Day fireworks, which have become a symbol of Hungary, watched by millions of people on the spot or on screens, will be complemented by a light painting on parliament and buildings along the Danube as well as a drone show.

Photo credit: MTI