As is the tradition, Hungary's birthday will be celebrated in a fitting way this year as well. The 20 August programme traditionally starts with the flag-hoisting ceremony and the official St Stephen's Day celebrations on Kossuth Square, followed by the Hungarian Defence Forces air parade and special military demonstrations and displays on Kapistran Square, the ceremonial passing out ceremony of new officers will also take place on the same day on Kossuth Square. During the day, the Holy Crown will be on display for the public free of charge in the Parliament building.
The four-day celebrations will feature a variety of official events, family, and children's activities, as well as pop music concerts. Well-known and popular local and international artists, rock legends and electronic music performances will form the backbone of the musical programme, which will be accompanied by a street music festival and an operetta stage.
In addition to the musical performances, the well-known Festival of Folk Arts will also be organised, along with the Fashion & Design Festival, which was a success last year. Those who love gastronomy, will be able to visit the Street of Hungarian Flavours and the Csárdafesztivál, as well as the Food Truck Show. This year, a spectacular festive procession entitled “Moon-Light-Tales” will also take place on Andrássy avenue.
In addition to existing catering outlets, more than one hundred and fifty vendors will be selling affordable, capped-price products as introduced last year. This year, the SZIN Bistro, will be selling canned and draught beer for 350 HUF again, just like most soft drinks, while half-litre mineral water will cost 190 HUF.
The 20 August celebrations always represent a significant added value for the capital's tourism and hospitality industry. Last year, the number of overnight stays was double that of an average weekend, with tourism experts expecting similar numbers this year as well. A significant proportion of guests chose hotels last year, which was reflected in occupancy rates and the average spending per room. Visitors to the capital from home and abroad also contribute to the livelihoods of countless businesses and tens of thousands of workers in the hospitality industry.
The highlight of the St Stephen's Day celebrations this year will be the fireworks display on 20 August, which became a permanent feature of the celebrations between the two world wars. Around 40,000 pyrotechnic devices will be launched from barges and pontoons during the evening event, which has become a tradition over the decades.