Pandemic stops commemorations for 1956 Hungarian Revolution in Szeklerland

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, it will not be possible to commemorate the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence as usual in Szeklerland on October 23. But there are alternative solutions.

Csíkszereda (Miercurea Ciuc)

Inhabitants of Csíkszereda can lay their wreaths on October 23 in groups of no more than six at the Kopjafa of the 1956 revolutionists, in front of the cemetery by the Kalász housing estates, and also at the Gloria Victis memorial on the 1956 Square.

Gyergyószentmiklós (Gheorgheni)

In Gyergyószentmiklós, a photo exhibition of the heroes of 1956 will be opened in the main square, where people will be able to light their candles all day long. The leader of the Gyergyószentmiklós Community Center, Sebestyén Fórika, told Székelyhon:

The aim is to call the attention of all the people passing by the busy location to the importance of the anniversary and the commemoration.

The official commemoration and wreath-laying will start at 17:00 at the memorial in the town’s cemetery, then a celebratory Holy Mass will be held in the Saint Nicolas (Szent Miklós) Roman Catholic church from 18:00. Starting at 19:00, a special concert, “Revolutionary Jazz,” will be held in the main room of the community center.

The Bágyi Balázs New Quartet – from Hungary – is going to play those songs that were played by the American radio stations in 1956, showing their solidarity with the Hungarian Revolution.

The entry to the concert is free, but because of the pandemic restrictions, only 30 percent of the seats in the main room can be taken. The quartet will also play its “Revolutionary Jazz” program the following day, on October 24, starting at 19:00 in Gyergyóremete (Remetea).

Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc)

The usual commemoration ceremony and torch march in Székelyudvarhely is canceled, but the town’s Mayor’s Office will commemorate the 64th anniversary of the revolution online, and Mayor Árpád Gálfy will give a speech on the town’s official Facebook channel from 17:00.

Besides the above, as in previous years, music invoking the revolution will be played at three different parts of the town: the Bethlen-quarter park, the Cserehát and the town center.

Flowers of remembrance can also be placed all day long in the town center at the Memorial of the Persecuted Ones and Victims, but there will not be an organized mass wreath-laying ceremony. In the evening, the town is going to pay tribute to the heroes of the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence at the same place with special lighting.

Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfântu Gheorghe)

The official commemoration ceremony with the participation of the town’s leadership and ex-political prisoners will start at 11:00, and they are going to lay wreaths at four parts of the town: the Gloria Victis memorial plate on the wall of the Sepsiszentgyörgy Mayor’s Office building, the memorial plate of the 1956 martyr, Attila Szalay, on Csíki Street, the memorial in the ’56 Park, and the Kopjafa in memory of the victims of Communism in Erzsébet Park. The commemorations are going to be held in accordance with the pandemic regulations.

Lads of Transylvania

“Lads of Pest” (pesti srácok in Hungarian) were those youngsters in Budapest, mostly in their teens or early twenties, who took up arms to fight against the Soviet occupation in the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence starting on October 23, 1956. Young Transylvanian-Hungarians were also informed about these events, and many of them openly showed their sympathy for the revolution in several ways. These youngsters were later imprisoned and tortured for years in the Romanian prison system for their brave solidarity. Due to the persecutions and humiliations, one of them even committed suicide by setting himself on fire in front of the communist party headquarters in Brassó (Brașov). These youngsters deserve to be remembered and they also deserve to bear the name of “Lads of Transylvania,” similar to their fellow fighters in Budapest. If you want to know more about these youngsters, check out TransylvaniaNOW’s Lads of Transylvania series here.


Title image: The Gloria Victis memorial in Csíkszereda, where there will be no mass wreath-laying this year. (Photo: Nándor Veres/szekelyhon.ro)

Author: Attila Szoó