Irish Culture Irish Embassy KJU Kodolányi János University St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Budapest

written by Alicia Soede (Engish studies BA student, Kodolányi University)

Recently, we had the opportunity to volunteer for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Budapest, proudly representing Kodolányi János University. The celebrations took place in Liberty Square, offering a great selection of traditional Irish food and drink, such as Guinness and Kilkenny. We were assigned various tasks as volunteers. Some of us helped guests at the darts and football table. Others assisted the bands in arranging their instruments on the stage. There were also several events going on around the stage all day. Traditional Irish music was played by bands such as the Folk Roses and the Bicskei Brass Band & Majorette. Dance schools, like the Central European Irish Dance Academy, also showcased their talent.

The highlight of the day was the parade. The march lasted about an hour, with the St. Patrick’s puppet leading the way. The Irish bagpipes and drums set the pace for the parade, and the impressive majorette dancers set its rhythm. The streets of Budapest from Kossuth Square to St. Basilica were filled with the music of bagpipes and cheering crowds. We helped the majorette dancers keep together in the crowd and gave guidance to the Irish dogs in the parade. Additionally, a long green snake costume stood out from the crowd. This was worn by Irish students,  mostly from Northern Ireland,  who are currently studying in Budapest.

The snake is another significant symbol of St. Patrick, along with the green shamrock. Legend has it that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. This legend also symbolised, among other things, that St. Patrick introduced Christianity to the country – ultimately leading to the replacement of paganism. The event provided an excellent chance to experience the spirit of this world-famous and spectacular celebration. By participating, we could learn more about Irish culture and talk with the Irish nationals living in Hungary. Liberty Square had a vibrant atmosphere accompanied by the vibrant green colour of the Irish, thanks to the creative and humorous costumes of many of the people present. In fact, not only were green clothes worn, but also green burgers, drinks, and hats popped up in the crowd. After the parade, we could enjoy some Irish music, a good Guinness with a sandwich, and most importantly a joyous dance!