August 20th is the greatest national holiday for the Hungarian people, celebrating the foundation of the Hungarian Kingdom, and the first king himself, Stephen I, as the first king was canonized on August 20th, 1083 by Pope Gregory VII. This day is also the greatest event for the Hungarian Catholic Church, and is celebrated by Hungarians all with different festivities. For example, the Hungarians living in Háromszék, a region of Szeklerland will light watchfires at the highest point of 27 settlements at once.
“In honor of St. Stephen and in loyalty to the Hungarian homeland he had dreamed of we will set the watchfires on August 20. The atmosphere of the event will help everyone to feel this thousand year-old history, our common story, as we, living in the southeasternmost part of the Carpathian Basin, have been keeping the borders of European Christianity”, said Tamás Sándor, the president of Háromszék territorial organization of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ).
He underlined that the fires will not give Szeklerland the long requested autonomy, but it represent a completed movement, a movement of the people living in Szeklerland. “And this is the most important: more and more people feel that the issue of Szeklerland is also their personal matter. More people realized, that our life depends on us, and if we don’t control it, somebody else will. We would like to form the life in Szeklerland, our homeland to our taste”, he said.
The watchfires will be ignited tonight at 9 o’clock next to 27 different settlements, on hills, on riversides or on football fields.