Birth of a Revolution

2013. március 14., csütörtök

15 March is a national holiday and day of celebration in Hungary. It is a day to remember the Hungarian revolution in 1848 and subsequent war for independence from the Austrian-Habsburg monarchy rule.

The Hungarian revolution began on 15 March 1848, alongside with massive demonstrations throughout the Hungarian capitol of Buda and its sister city, Pest. Crowds marched through the streets reading poet Sándor Petőfi's Nemzeti dal "National Song" and a list of 12 political demands, all of which culminated at the steps of the National Museum. Smaller uprisings followed throughout the Hungarian kingdom as well. These gatherings pressured the imperial government to appoint a new parliament with Lajos Batthyány as the country's first Prime Minister.

The new, independent government quickly passed a set of reform laws called the "April Laws" that were drawn-up by famous journalist, political leader and eventual Regent-President, Lajos Kossuth. The laws gave Hungary control of its National Guard, national bank and foreign policy, abolished serfdom, extended toleration of all Christian groups, granted freedom of the press and in effect created a democratic Hungarian government.

The Habsburgs later responded sending Austrian and Croatian troops into Hungary to crush the democratic rebellion, but they were initially defeated by Hungarian freedom fighters. The monarchy then enlisted the help of Hungary's neighboring countries and eventually asked help from Russia's Czar Nicholas I. The war for independence raged on several fronts until Hungary's surrender to the Russian army in August 1849. After the war ended, Prime Minister Batthyány was executed in Pest on 6 October 1849, the same day as the execution of 13 Hungarian generals in Arad. They are now known as the "Martyrs of Arad."

Today, 15 March is a time for national pride and holds a special place in Hungarians' hearts. Everywhere, people gather in the streets clad in red, white and green to celebrate the day the revolution was born, the country's fleeting independence and the memory of those brave men who helped attain it.


Amy Lester

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Reformed Church in Hungary

Address: H-1146 Budapest, Abonyi utca 21.   

PO Box: 1140 Budapest 70, Pf. 5

Phone/Fax: + 36 1 460 0708 


Our church through American eyes

We encourage you to read our  former GM intern Kearstin Bailey's blog about her time, spent in Hungary.