This is the first year I became aware of this festival, although it has been in existence for the past six years. The organisers, having been a voluntary organisation for all those years, have just achieved charity status, which might help them to become more active in the future and carry on with the ardent promotion of Hungarian culture in Dublin.
I often wonder why people need these festivals. Why is it necessary to go over same ground, to dwell in the past, but I accept that it is a natural instinct to stick to your kind in a strange new world. Most of the people that attend are Hungarians and there are, so I was told, 10,000 living in Dublin. So I guess, in reality they just want to keep the connection with the homeland and language, they are nurturing their nostalgia, and they are trying to keep their children, who are in the biggest "danger" of letting their roots down in the new country, interested in it, too.
There is a Hungarian grocery shop in Dublin, just as Polish ones all over the UK. Taste is the last thing people are willing to give up. If they cannot change the weather, at least they can eat like they used to at home!
Being an exile and having left Hungary 37 years ago, I feel more settled in my outsider status, for you will always remain a "blow-in" as they call the non-locals in Ireland. I got used to being on the edge, a nomad, ready to pack my bags if I needed to. Having said that, from all the countries (I should say regions) I lived in, I have lived in Northern Ireland for the longest period in my life, for more than 18 years and I have double citizenship: Hungarian and British. It took me a long time to comprehend the nuances of the region, and I cannot pretend to understand it all, except for sensing the gravity of hurt on both sides. Yet, I have the privilege and freedom to avoid dwelling in any of it: I am an outsider. My naïveté originating in my outsiderness also makes it possible for me to regard the people north and south of the border as Irish. So, in this regard, the border is non-existent. I can also say, with a whole heart that the Irish are really one of the friendliest of people. They have a natural curiosity for strangers and their stories, they might have taken the title of "best hosts of the world" from Hungary, who had been the holders of it until quite recently....
Therefore, getting involved with a Hungarian cultural organisation in Dublin was just as strange and new, yet vaguely familiar, as if I had started bicycle riding after a decade again. Being Hungarian is somewhere deep in my system, the language is embedded in my core, even though I reject much of the nationalism that I always found repellent even as a child growing up there.
So, when I got involved I helped a friend, Sandor Gerebics,
became his host, assisted in showing his short film about the Boganyi Piano - a Hungarian success story, "Sound Beyond Time". "Success" has been a buzz word for the past decade or so in Hungary, this is what most young people should strive for. The film had good resonance.
This is how I became a supporter of the Hungarian Culture Days Dublin and even got a certificate to say so. My first Hungarian certificate after 37 years. Life is a cycle, after all.