Human Resources Minister Miklós Kásler has marked the Day of Hungarian Culture in an online ceremony.
In his address, Kásler highligthed Ferenc Kölcsey’s Himnusz (Hymn), Hungary’s national anthem, which the poet completed on January 22, 1823. The lines of that poem have become “a prayer for all Hungarians because they embody the nation’s traditions, history, and strong faith”, he said. It is those traditions and faith that have “lent strength and showed the way to the nation … to withstand dictatorships”, the minister added. State Secretary Péter Fekete noted that the coronavirus epidemic had heavily impacted culture, with “theatres, museums, concert halls and libraries suddenly emptied of their audiences”. He paid tribute to those working to “warm up shivering souls … the librarian reading online from his armchair, the popular artist holding an online course, a chamber orchestra making music in a square or a symphony orchestra playing while wearing masks, or the ballet dancer dancing in front of her kitchen counter”.
Meanwhile, Socialist deputy leader István Hiller called for a rescue package for culture with a view to the pandemic’s impact on the sector. Representatives of culture are “in great trouble, because theatres, cultural centres and concert halls are closed and there are no festivals or exhibitions”. Hiller insisted that the government’s measures so far, including tax cuts and subsidies for certain events were insufficient, and criticised the government for providing more assistance to sports than to the cultural sector.