On the 20th of August, get ready to celebrate the Hungarian equivalent of America’s 4th of July on Saint Stephen’s Day, the day marking the anniversary of the country’s formation way back in the year 1000. Szent István nap, also known as Foundation Day and Constitution Day, is the official state holiday of Hungary with a ton of things happening: events, programs, concerts and the only night of fireworks in the Hungarian calendar year! Read on for a complete guide on the celebrations and get ready for an incredible day!
It’s a tradition on Saint Stephen’s Day to be wowed by an aerial spectacle first thing in the morning by the Hungarian Army. The air show is full of amazing airplane tricks and breathtaking surprises, from 9 AM between Parliament Building and the Chain Bridge. We suggest grabbing breakfast and watching the spectacular air show from the bank of the Danube.
Are you into sports? Want to get to know more about famous Hungarian sportsmen and their success? For St Stephen’s Day an exhibition will be set up at Március 15. Square for Hungarians and sport. You can visit the interactive exhibition from Friday to Saturday between 10:00 and 20:00.
Up for some fun on the Danube? Since it’s a very happy holiday, you should definitely party on Saint Stephen’s Day! Lucky for you, the Budapest Boat Party has got you covered: an extra-special afternoon party cruise, ending with a breathtaking sunset just for you. There will be refreshing cocktails, cool decoration, sunbeds for your comfort and of course a DJ with the best tropical house beats. The ship leaves at 17:30 and docks at 19:30 so you can catch the fireworks!
Saint Stephen, or Szent István in Hungarian, was the first king of Hungary who basically founded the country. For his glory and remembrance in 1900, a golden train was built but unfortunately it was destroyed during WWII. However this year organisers have rebuilt the train and will reveal it to the public on St Stephen’s Day! You will be able to see the replica until the 22nd of August at Kossuth Lajos Square.
Csárda is a Hungarian word used for very traditional restaurants all over the city. During Saint Stephen’s Day you can discover what csárda really means at Vörösmarty Square. There will be traditional Hungarian food, music and even folk dancing, so get ready to warm up for the night’s revels with some hearty meals and boogie!
Do you want to know what the prestigious Hungarian crown actually looks like? On St Stephen’s Day you can visit the crown for free! It’s housed in the beautiful interior of the Hungarian Parliament building, under the famous dome, itself worth a visit. Usually you have to pay for this kind of access but on St Stephen’s Day it’s free!
If you are looking for something more laid back on the day, check out the food truck show and street music festival at Liberty Square! A super fun and chill adventure for those who want to try some tasty bites while listening to some wicked music. The street music festival, held during summer in a different Hungarian city, is very famous amongst the locals, so this is a perfect opportunity to check it out in the capital as well!
To celebrate Saint Stephen, or Szent István, the biggest Hungarian tradition is to watch the fireworks. This year organisers are promising it’s going to be the biggest firework display in Europe! If you’re looking for a great party where you can dance under the spectacle, join us on our Saint Stephen’s Fireworks Party Cruise! Your ticket will also include 4 hours of unlimited beer, wine, long drinks and snacks until midnight, and an afterparty to keep you dancing until the morning hours! If you’re not up for a boat party, don't worry! Check out the awesome display from other locations mentioned in this article.