Although the traditional festivities cannot be organized on their usual scale due to the epidemiological restrictions, the Day of the One Thousand Szekler Girls is still going to be celebrated in the Csíksomlyó “Saddle” stretching between the Kis- and Nagysomlyó mountains. According to a Tuesday press conference held by the organizers, the event will focus mainly on the ceremonial holy mass, which will start at 11:00 a.m. this Saturday.
“This get together on Saturday is going to be a special one, as it has to be adapted to the unusual situation determined by the coronavirus pandemic. We have been weighing our options carefully; at this time, outdoor events can be organized with a maximum number of 500 participants, so we have decided to go ahead and celebrate this feast, observing the restrictions,” emphasized the deputy mayor of Csíkszereda (Miercurea-Ciuc), Zoltán Füleki, at the press conference. He underlined that this year the traditional procession of horse-drawn carriages and riders will not take place, so no one should use this mode of transport when coming from the neighboring localities.
The deputy mayor drew attention to the fact that authorities will be strictly monitoring participants’ compliance with the rules, and in case of eventual transgressions, permits of the event organizers will be withdrawn. “Organizing this celebration is a great responsibility for the local authorities, so I would like to ask the lovers of folk culture and traditions to act responsibly,” said the mayor. He added, that “if possible, every participant should arrive at the Saddle dressed from top to bottom in their traditional Szekler costumes.” The administration of Csíkszereda and the representatives of this year’s “host village,” Csíkdelne (Delniţa) have asked several traditional dance and folk culture groups from the regions of Szeklerland to send a few of their members so that the event would remain a colorful, community-binding celebration.
“It is important to wear our traditional Szekler attire as our armor, as this is a way of guarding our values and traditions”, said Füleki.
The day of the One Thousand Szekler Girls is a well-known annual celebration of Székely–Hungarian folk music, dance, traditional costumes and prayer in the spiritual heart of Székely Land (Szeklerland). The event is usually organized on the first Saturday of every July, and it is considered to be a great occasion for presenting and promoting the values of the Szekler folk traditions.
The first such celebration was held in 1931, but during the era of communism, it was forbidden to be organized. The tradition was revived in 1990. Normally, the event would begin with a colorful parade. In the central square of Csíkszereda, young women and men arriving from Szeklerland’s villages would entertain the public with dancing and folk games. Then a large procession would march out to the “Saddle.” There, a holy mass is followed by a festival that lasts for several hours: all the tradition-keeping groups present themselves, their attire, songs and dances on the stage in the Saddle.
Title image: This year, a few members of every folk dancing group will participate. The photo is an illustration of last year’s celebration.