The series of commemorations of the 1848 Revolution began on the 15th of March 2024 in Debrecen with a military salute and the raising of the National Flag on Kossuth Square.

The events then continued on Petőfi Square. This year’s commemoration of 15 March will focus on the events of 15 March 1849 in Debrecen, since this day was first celebrated as a national holiday here. The Hajdú-Bihar County Hussar Traditionalists Association, the Szeredás Folk Music Ensemble, the Debrecen Folk Ensemble, students of the Ady Endre High School in Debrecen, the Debrecen Garrison Orchestra, the Sáránd Song Choir and the Debrecen Honvéd Dance Ensemble contributed to the reconstruction of the events in Debrecen.

Afterwards, wreaths were laid on the statue’s pedestal by the representatives of local and state authorities, armed forces, political parties, NGOs and associations.

After the event on Petőfi Square, a solemn march from Petőfi Square to Kossuth Square was held with 1848-49 songs, and during the march, with the participation of the Csokonai National Theatre Debrecen and 175 students, the events of 1849 in Debrecen were brought to life. At Miklós Street, the person of Lajos Kossuth was commemorated, and the procession arrived at the main stage on Kossuth Square to the accompaniment of music and recitation by students.

In Kossuth Square, the celebrants were treated to a show entitled “Wake up! As it is a day of celebration”, featuring the Csokonai National Theatre Debrecen and 175 students from various educational institutions of Debrecen. The festive programme was put together by artistic director of the Ady Endre High School Dr. Edit Bagossi. 

After the program, Mayor of Debrecen László Papp gave his celebratory speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Dear Celebrating People of Debrecen,

15 March, Pilvax, Petőfi, National Song, Táncsics, Landerer, 12 points. All concepts and names linked to the day. Whether we are Hungarians at home or anywhere in the world, these words and names remind every true Hungarian of the same thing, the same feeling that grips them, the revolution of 1848, Hungarians’ desire for freedom, the love of our nation.

So there are things that should not be explained, there are clear things that are clear, like March 15, 1848.But still, every year, on this day, we gather in the main square of our city, here in front of the Great Church, and reaffirm our national feelings, in our love for our country and our freedom, because it is good to recall the brave deeds of our ancestors, their strong faith and their sacrifice, which should stand before us as an example today. What makes it all the more special is that 175 years ago our beloved city became the most important centre of the post-Revolutionary War of Independence and the temporary capital of the country. This square, the Great Church, the College, the Town Hall, all witnessed the fateful speeches, the decisions and the love of the Cívis for their country and their freedom.

I therefore greet you with great respect on the 176th anniversary of the outbreak of the March 1848 Revolution, the most important celebration of our love of our country and freedom. I greet you in the guardian city of Hungarian freedom, which 175 years ago, from January 1849, after the fall of Buda and then Pest, for almost half a year was the true capital of the nation, the ruler of the country, the centre of the Hungarian people fighting for freedom, or as Kossuth put it “the heart and head of the country”.

Dear Commemorators,

Of all the European revolutions of the spring of 1848, the Hungarian Revolution was by far the most outstanding and the best testimony to the fact that the Hungarian nation was the most determined and sacrificial of all European nations in the struggle for freedom and independence. The weight, significance and consequences of which can be described without exaggeration as historical. And the fact that today, on March 15, 2024, the country, the Carpathian basin, and even the Hungarians of the whole world remember the revolution of 1848, that the revolution became a struggle for freedom with historic significance and results, in which Debrecen played an outstanding role.

Debrecen became the guard town of Hungarian freedom when the Government had to flee Pest. And in fact, our fight for freedom against the Habsburg Empire was only really successful, just think of the glorious spring campaign, as long as the cause of freedom was led from here, from Debrecen. Because there is no denying the strength of the united and courageous stand that was manifested in the deep commitment of the citizens of Debrecen to Kossuth and the freedom struggle. After the revolutionary events in Pest, on the 19th of March, thousands demanded the local introduction of the 12 points and the election of Kossuth as an honorary citizen in front of the town hall, as a result of which the general assembly accepted these proposals.

After the government of the War of Independence moved to Debrecen, the citizens of the city of Civic Town gave very strong support to the strengthening and acceptance of Kossuth’s aspirations at every fateful event. It was as if the people of Debrecen had the right to vote in both the government and the National Assembly.

Let us remember the 14th of April 1849, the dethronement of the House of Habsburg. If the people of Debrecen had not been here in the Great Church and the power of public opinion had not come to Kossuth’s aid, it is almost certain that the hands of the decision-makers would have shaken.

But Cívis citizens did not allow the members of the National Assembly to tremble, their presence was the guarantee for the birth of Hungarian freedom and independence. Let us Debrecen citizens be proud to be citizens of a city that has always been brave enough to stand up for the cause of Hungarian freedom.

The citizens of Debrecen did this in 1956 and in Sopron in 1989, with the initiative of the Pan-European Picnic, which played a huge role in dismantling the Iron Curtain, one of the symbols of the communist dictatorship. We are proud to say that the people of Debrecen have been one of the strongest supporters of the cause of Hungarian freedom for centuries.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Just as in 1848, we can say today that only nations that respect the past, are resolute about the future, and are able to fight for freedom and independence can stop imperial threats. And we Hungarians are such a nation. We are looking back at the struggles for freedom of our country, we are remembering men and women who showed their treacherous and small-minded compatriots, who showed Europe and the world that their country came first.

For the freedom and independence of our nation, they dare to stand up to one or, as our fight for freedom shows, even several empires.

I am convinced that we can still draw strength from the deeds of the heroes of 1848/49. We can draw strength from them,  as we need this strength, since even today one cannot do without the imperial threat. We cannot conceal our disappointment when we say that the spirit of the European community that was prevalent at the time of our accession has changed.

When we made the decision to join the European Union’s large family of nations, we were joining a community of sovereign states of equal status, not a European empire.

Today, I still believe that the decision to become part of a large European economic and political community of equal states is the right one, but I do not believe that, after accession, after accepting the conditions that we have agreed to, the rules of the game are being rewritten in Brussels, so that the European Union is increasingly resembling an empire that wants to dismantle nation states, thereby depriving them of a significant part of their sovereignty.

We Hungarians have lived under the rule of some empire for centuries in our history. We know what that means. It certainly does not mean that the interests of the Hungarian people come first. The last time we said ‘no’ to this political and economic system was 34 years ago, when we threw off the Soviet yoke and, embarking on a new development path, regained our full independence.

I am convinced that we can only build a promising future for our nation if we repeatedly say no to efforts that seek to put foreign interests ahead of the interests of the Hungarian people. And we are no longer surprised that those who were enthusiastic about the Soviet Union four decades ago, or their heirs, are standing up for the idea of a European Empire.

176 years ago, it took an overwhelming revolution and the lives of many honest Hungarians during the War of Independence to express our desire for freedom, to try to gain the independence we coveted. Now, in 2024, all it will take is one vote, one vote on the 9th of June.

Because the question is whether we will give up our independence  and let the European Union rule our lives as an empire, or whether we are going to put a stop to it and cling to our recently regained freedom, independence and a Europe of sovereign, equal nations.

We Hungarians must decide our own destiny, our own future. Let us add that the situation today is one step better than 176 years ago. Today, we must defend our freedom, not gain it. Because today, Hungary is an independent, sovereign country on which a politically driven imperial machine is trying to impose its will.

They want to tell us who we can let into our country, how we bring up our children and they want to drag us into a war that we have nothing to do with.

We have a thousand-year history of constant struggle for sovereignty. This struggle has been against the Ottoman and Habsburg empires, but it has also been our struggle against Soviet occupation. But where are these empires today, we Hungarians are still here today and if we can defend our freedom and independence we will be here in 1000 years! It is up to us!

Ladies and Gentlemen! I am not exaggerating when I say that today, in 2024, as in 1848/49, we have a revolutionary situation. A new world order is emerging.  Even after Világos, a new era in European history began, even if at first it seemed that the old order had triumphed and the situation was even worse than before. Today, the rulers of the old order are still resorting to imperial solutions because they feel their power is threatened, which is why they want to limit the sovereignty of the states and strengthen the power of the centre, Brussels.

They declare themselves as champions and defenders of democracy by not tolerating dissent. A global monoculture is being built under the banner of diversity. If you disagree with the mainstream, if you represent the interests of your nation, you are anti-democratic and nationalist and and you will be subject to misconduct proceedings and the withdrawal of the resources you are entitled to.

And this weapon is particularly effective when the political forces at home that have failed their country even support the soldiers of the empire, not to mention the fact that they can even boast about it, as has happened in recent days. These politicians would probably not have strengthened Kossuth’s camp 176 years ago and would certainly have avoided meeting the citizens of Debrecen.

Dear Celebrating People of Debrecen!

Sometimes one has the feeling that the world around us is like a battlefield. There is a fierce struggle in almost every area of life, from economic life to religions and cultures to political sectarianism. But these struggles, these revolutionary times, always bring new opportunities. The question is, above all, who gets these new opportunities?

If we look at our city, we can see the development of its economy, education, scientific and cultural life, we can say that Debrecen has made the most of its potential and by the end of the decade it has a good chance of becoming the strongest city in rural Hungary and one of the strongest and most developed in Central Europe at international level.

All our efforts are aimed at strengthening the commitment of the citizens of our city to Debrecen.

This is why we are creating new jobs, improving our education system, making the city greener and more sustainable, and launching the unique Főnix rental housing programme for young people in Debrecen.

We have sown everything, we have planted everything in the last decade that is necessary for this city and its citizens to be successful, strong and prosperous in the decades to come. But these revolutionary achievements must not be cherished, but nurtured, strengthened and continued, because in a matter of moments what appears to be a benefit today can be undone, especially if the achievements of the past are touched by incompetent hands.

The Youth of March loved their country and the idea of freedom so much that they were willing to sacrifice their lives for it. We, the descendants of later generations, must also love our country, just as the Hungarians of the reform era loved it, just as the Youth of March loved it, just as the heroes and martyrs of the War of Independence loved it.

We must love our Hungarian nation, and we must work to make this country a safe, strong and promising home for all of us, for all Hungarian people in Europe. For this to happen, I wish that the eternal commandment of the 12 points will be fulfilled, according to which:: 

“May there be peace, freedom and harmony.”

Wishing us all the same, let us pay tribute to our nation’s heroes! Long live Hungarian freedom, long live the homeland! Long live Debrecen!

At the end of the ceremony, wreaths were laid at the Kossuth statue by representatives of local and state authorities, armed forces, political parties, NGOs and associations.

In the afternoon, a gala performance entitled “Stand up Hungarian, homeland is calling!” will take place in Kossuth Square. The 15 March celebrations will end with the ceremonial lowering of the national flag on Kossuth Square.

Source: debrecen.hu

Author: Debrecen4U