1848 Szekler National Assembly museum opens

Hussars marched, and politicians delivered speeches on Wednesday in the Agyagfalva /Lutița meadow (12 km from Székelyudvarhely/Odorheiu Secuiesc) as part of the 1848 Szekler National Assembly commemoration. Later, the highlight of the day was the inauguration of the memorial house of the historic event.

Agyagfalva meadow
Commemoration in the Agyagfalva meadow, front of the memorial of the Szekler National Assembly of 1848, on October 16, 2019. (Photo: Lóránt Fülöp/szekelyhon.ro)

On October 16, 1848, about 60 thousand Szekler men gathered together at the central point of Szeklerland in the Agyagfalva meadow to declare their loyalty to the Hungarian revolution and freedom fight against the Habsburg Empire. Besides their own demands towards the Habsburgs – immediate abolition of serfdom and their border surveillance obligations, equality before the law, and introduction of burden sharing with no delay – Szeklers also wanted to declare their peaceful intention to fellow Transylvanian nations:

“We want peace and freedom in this country in order to enjoy its fruits together with you. We respect your nationalities, your languages, and your religions and we are ready to defend those with the sharp of our weapons.” 

–was written in the Szekler’s proclamation entitled “Saxon and Romanian Brothers and Fellow-Citizens.”

Today, 171 years later, Szeklers again gathered at the same place to remember this historic event and to lay their wreaths on the assembly’s monument. Mayor Mózes Farkas pointed out in his speech that this year’s commemoration is particularly special because after the Hungarian Parliament last year declared 16th of October as “Szekler-Hungarian Togetherness Day,” this was the first time that they could celebrate this too.

Wreath-laying by Hussars
Wreath-laying by Hussars in the Agyagfalva meadow (Photo: Lóránt Fülöp/szekelyhon.ro)

After the mayor’s speech and the wreath-laying, the crowd walked together to the inauguration of the nearby memorial house, where the Ambassador of Hungary in Bucharest, Botond Zákonyi, shared his thoughts first. According to him, the small museum could become a significant place in Hargita County, where visitors will be able to learn about the Agyagfalva Assembly and about its idealism. He emphasized that since the 1848 national assembly nobody could doubt the fact that the Szeklers are the same kind of Hungarians like all the other Hungarians in Hungary or in Transylvania. It was their decision, and in 1848 the Szeklers declared themselves as part of the Hungarian civic nation.

National Assembly memorial house
Opening speeches front of the 1848 Szekler National Assembly memorial house. (Photo: Lóránt Fülöp/szekelyhon.ro)

Former president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) Béla Markó expressed his happiness about the foundation of the small museum because he feels that this historical event is not as well-known, even among Szeklers, as it should be. “We have a task today. We not only would like to stay Hungarians – because it is also possible elsewhere – but we would like to create a decent life for ourselves as Hungarians in Transylvania, in Szeklerland.” –he said to the crowd.

“Our community cannot be ruined by interior fights, and we shall not give space to those who are trying to blow the coals over and over again.”

–next explained the Maros/Mureș County Council President, Ferenc Péter.

President of the Agyagfalva 1848 Foundation István Antal said that the locals wanted to build a memorial house more than a century ago, but that attempt failed back then. He emphasized that the project could only succeed this time due to the broad collaboration between institutions, firms, and individuals. The groundwork of the building was done back in 2013, but two years later the construction almost had to be halted due to a crisis situation. This was the time when a youth organization came and gave them a helping hand, saving the whole project. According to Antal, this collaboration is also proof that Szekler people do have a future.


Title image: Inauguration of the 1848 Szekler National Assembly memorial house on October 16, 2019. (Photo: Lóránt Fülöp/szekelyhon.ro)

Author: Attila Szoó