|English: Jarosław, Bożnic square, polish - hungarian friendship monumnet and Leon Czechowski Monument Polski: Jarosław, plac Bożnic, pomnik przyjaźni polsko - węgierskiej i kopijnik upamiętniający Leona Czechowskiego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
On March 23 of every year, two European countries celebrate their good relations- Poland and Hungary. The holiday came to be known as Polish-Hungarian Friendship Day
How did these close relations start? Back in the Middle Ages, intermarrying amongst Hungarian and Polish nobles was commonplace. In fact, at separate times the same man, Louis the Great, was King of Hungary and King of Poland. Władysław III similarly served as both King of Poland and King of Hungary at separate times. The two nations assisted each other in various battles throughout their history- a Polish legion of 1,200 Polish soldiers came to aid Hungary in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. Hungary offered to send 30,000 cavalry to help Poland during the Polish-Soviet war, and many munitions trains reached Poland despite Czechoslovakia’s refusal to allow Hungarians through the demilitarized zone.
During World War II, Hungarian Admiral Horthy of the Axis Powers refused to send troops to help invade Poland faster, stating that he did not wish to dishonor Poland and Hungary’s friendship. Because of this refusal, many Polish government officials and military men were able to escape Poland into neighboring Hungary. The Polish October revolution for reform helped spur the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, and over 11,000 Poles showed their support by donating blood to Hungarians.
And in 2007, just 11 day before the soon-to-be Friendship Day, the Hungarian parliament unanimously declared March 23rd “Polish-Hungarian Friendship Day” with all 324 votes in favor. Four days later, an election in the Polish parliament also declared the new holiday.
And how is this day celebrated? Despite its official date, festivities run for over a week, and involve the Presidents and government representatives from both countries coming together. Just some of the events include “theatrical performances, films, exhibitions, concerts, workshops, [and] scientific exhibitions.”
A proverb exists about these two countries together- “Pole and Hungarian cousins be,” or “Pole and Hungarian, two good friends.” And another 1849 quote by a Polish activist, Stanlislaw Worcell, similarly embodies the good relations: "Hungary and Poland are two eternal oaks. Each of them shot up a separate and distinct trunk, but their roots widely scattered in the ground are intertwined and knitted invisibly. Hence the existence and vigor of one is the condition of the other's life and health."
Sources: Wikipedia, Polish Greatness.blogspot, Poznan.pl, The News.pl