Monday, March 14, 2005


I’m invited to visit the primary school today. It is a monday. A sunny day. It even seems to be warmer than before. You don’t only feel it, you can smell it as well. From my window I see people walking the street. They carry bags and babies.
At eleven thirty I take my bike and cross my street. Cars are parked everywhere. In the main street the sidewalk is packed with people. They eat icecreams and walk in a long line. Like the ants crossing my kitchen floor in the morning. Where did they come from? What are they doing here? I’ve never seen that many people in Sturovo. Or did I? I’m getting confused. Is it because of the lunch hour? Because of the beautiful weather? It must be the weather.

When I enter the school I hear singing. Three men jump out of their car. They wear long blue cloaks and stumble over their swords. One of them resembles a guy from the Dutch television. He locks the car, straightens the feathers on his helmet and opens the schooldoor. I follow them. Inside all the children are gathered. Everybody is wearing a ribbon in the colours of the Hungarian flag. I suddenly remember somebody telling me about the Day of the Revolution.

In the early 19th century the Habsburg empire began to weaken as Hungarian nationalism increased. Certain reforms were introduced: the replacement of Latin as the official languafe of administration with Magyar, increased Hungarian representation in the council of State, a law giving serfs more rights.
But the reforms carried out were still too limited and the wave of revolution sweeping Europe spurred on the more radical faction. On 15 March 1848 a group calling itself the Youth of march, led by the poet Sandor Petofi, took to the streets to press for even more radical reforms and revolution. This day is celebrated as the 1848 Revolution or national Day. The celebration starts already on 14 March.

I chat with the schooldirector about some plans for a project with the kids and go home again. There are even more people outside now. They are everywhere, walking and walking. The bridge is jammed on both sides, the park near my house is filled with people. I’m curious what will happen today and when. They must be here for some reason, some special event will surely happen, maybe music or speeches, I didn’t see posters, where will the action be? I don’t want to miss it. I try to figuer out their main direction but there doesn’t seem to be one. I ask some people but they don’t understand me. I better find somebody who speaks some English.

The director of the Museum is in. I ask my question, hoping I’m not too late. He seems to be surprised about my excitement, shakes his head and tells me there is no more action than what I’ve seen already. This is what they are here for. To walk the streets, cross the bridge, buy things at the local shops, eat icecreams.

So I walk the streets and buy myself a big icecream. I cross the bridge twice and buy some food at a small shop. I take a photo or two and walk back to my house. The sun is still shining but there is just enough wind to let the Hungarian flags fly.


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