Members of the Friends of the Book network held a literary picnic on the 20th of June in connection with the Petőfi Memorial Year, during which they planted Petőfi’s pear tree together. 

The Friends of the Books network was founded a year ago to promote and celebrate the triad of books, literature and reading in Debrecen. 

The network of more than fifty people has undertaken to plant a sapling of an old pear tree of the poet Sándor Petőfi, born 200 years ago, to commemorate not only the poet but also enrich the literary and natural values of Debrecen. 

The original pear tree can be found in the garden of the Gyárfás Mansion in Székelykeresztúr. According to tradition, Sándor Petőfi arrived here accompanied by General Bem in the company of Domokos Zeyk, who died a heroic death in the Battle of Fehéregyház and was a frequent guest of the then owner of the house, Zsigmond Varga. Under the pear tree, he recited his poem “A thought troubles me” (“Egy gondolat bánt engemet”). The next day he set off on his fateful journey to the battle of Fehéregyháza.

The successor of the original pear tree of the former Gyárfás mansion was collected and grafted by pomologist Gyula Kovács. 

One of the saplings arrived in Debrecen thanks to local organisations, including the Hungarian Culture Foundation, the Friends of the Books network, Természettár City-Legends, Explore Debrecen and the Zsuzsi Forest Railway.

According to Nóra Erdei, executive director of Explore Debrecen, planting a tree is an investment in the future. The future is not present, and there is no past without it. “We thought a lot about where the Petőfi pear tree would have a worthy place in Debrecen, the  Zsuzsi Forest Railway,  which is entering its 141st year this year, has gladly agreed to give this small graft a home in its beautiful garden”, she said.

Deputy mayor of Debrecen István Puskás, who is committed to Friends of the Books Network, also participated in the event.  He emphasised that the local government does not operate the network and that there are more and more literary and book programs in Debrecen thanks to the common thinking of the company that wants to promote book culture actively.

The head of Természettár, Zoltán Váradi, explained why he thought it was important for the sapling of Petőfi’s pear tree to come to Debrecen and also revealed some interesting facts about the natural values of Debrecen.

Máté Horog, a local history researcher in Debrecen and founder of City-Legends, listed the most important herbology books and medical-botanical books born in Debrecen and gave a brief taste of Debrecen legends related to trees and flowers.

Hajnalka Fogarasi  Makóné,  the managing director of  Zsuzsi Forest Railway, stated that it was a great honour for them to host a real piece of living history in their yard. She emphasised that the Zsuzsi Forest Railway also tries to speak out in the field of literature, which is why they joined the “Friends of the Books” network. The planted pear tree also symbolises this fruitful relationship.

In addition to planting the sapling, the Friends of the Books network also organised a literary picnic, the guest of honour of which was Attila Prize-winning poet Tamás Gérecz Korpa, who read to the participants from his latest work about nature.

Source and photo credit: debrecen.hu

Author: Debrecen4U