Aug. 20 - St. Stephen's Day

August 20 is St. Stephen's Day in Hungary. On this day, Hungarians celebrate King Stephen and the founding of the Hungarian state.  Stephen was born around AD 970. He was crowned king in Esztergom on Christmas in 1000, with a crown sent by Pope Sylvester II. During his reign, he created the Christian Hungarian Kingdom from the Hungarian tribes, and strengthened the Church in Hungary exceedingly.  A law was passed in 1771, in the reign of Empress Maria Theresia declaring this day an official State and Church holiday.

Traditionally, the first bread from the new harvest is baked for this day. Parades and music are among the festivities, and an impressive fireworks show is launched over the Danube at night.  The most important events in Budapest take place around the Basilica. This is where the procession of the Holy Right Hand starts.