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Shepherd Traditions Preserved in Hortobágy

Three events over three days, held in the land of the shepherds! While the Hortobágy Bridge Fair will take place in the fairgrounds, the 25th National Goulash Competition + Shepherd’s Meeting will be taking place at the Pusztai Zoo, meanwhile, the Máta Equestrian Competition will take place between the 20th-22nd August at the Máta Stud Farm.

Debrecen and Hortobágy work together to preserve traditions:

On behalf of the Local Government of the City of Debrecen, Főnix Rendezvényszervező Közhasznú Nonprofit Kft., has been assisting the preparation and organization of the Hortobágy Horse Days event since 2017. Due to the pandemic, this program could not go ahead this year, but thanks to a special series of events, the organizers still have the opportunity to preserve and nurture the Hungarian equestrian traditions this year, and introduce as many people as possible to the customs, traditional dress, folk music and object use related to these traditions. 

The Merely Holiday, will comprise of a series of events, which includes the 25th National Goulash Competition and Shepherd’s Meeting and the equestrian competitions held in the Mátai Stud Farm, is supported by the City of Debrecen with the amount of HUF 10 million.  The Hortobágy Bridge Fair, which is supported this year by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Hungarikum Committee, is also part of the series of events.

Historical roots:

The relationship between Debrecen and Hortobágy dates back to ancient times, as the free royal city of Debrecen founded the stud farm in Hortobágy, which is one of the oldest studs in Hungary with a history of more than 300 years. The stud of the city of Debrecen was first built in a XVII century archival record. The town organized a stud not only for its own but also for the horses of its host community. The Hortobágy plain belonged to Debrecen for centuries, up until 1948, and it was the basis of supplying the people of Debrecen with cattle and other animals which grazed and raised in Hortobágy. 

The relationship between Hortobágy and Debrecen is also decisive in the history of the Hortobágy Bridge Fair, as it was created as one of the fairs of Debrecen, although we do not know the exact time of its creation. When it is mentioned in historical texts, it is referred to as a long-standing fair, and is not even called a bridge fair, because it was not originally held next to the bridge, but on the “Gulian Edge”. It was not until 1892 that the Debrecen council decided on a systematic animal fair to be held twice a year and to have its place where it had been held in previous years at the bridge. In the heyday of the bridge fairs, mainly Debrecen masters, hats, filter cutters, bootmakers, Miskolc coopers, wheel manufacturers, potters from Debrecen, Füred and Mezőcsát, pipers, also an echo cart from Debrecen.

The Hortobágy Bridge Fair is a nationally significant, defining annual event of the Hortobágy Village, a national unloading and folk art fair. The organizer of the event is the event organizing company of the Municipality of Hortobágy, Hortobágyi-Délibáb Nonprofit Kft. The Hortobágy Shepherd Culture will be presented at the Hídivásár, where we will be able to greet the Eternal Herdsmen of Hortobágy and the artisans of Hortobágy. The audience and visitors of the fair will also be able to taste the Slambuci of Hortobágy, which is of national value, during the three-day event.

This year, on August 21st for the 25th timegoulash experts from many parts of the country will gather at the Pusztai Zoo in Hortobágy to give their best knowledge of their craftsmanship to the general public on Saturday after the qualifiers on Friday. The main competitions, which consist of tasks that occur in the course of their daily work, are: catching cattle, pulling water, throwing a squash, using a goulash stick and a hoop whip. The fact that the hoop whip, is considered of outstanding value in terms of Hungarian folk art, was recently included in the Collection of Hungaricums gives it a special statusThe inevitable closing chord of the two-day Goulash Competition is open every year to the participants and the audience. A joint exchange with which we will celebrate the hoop whip that has become Hungaricum this year.

This August weekend, lovers of equestrian sports will not be left wanting, as from Friday to Sunday a National Show Jumping Competition awaits those interested in Mátán, which is also the qualifying competition of the Hungarian Championship in Bábolna in September. Based on the experience of previous races, the organizers expect almost 500 starts in the 33 races in three days , so those who visit Mata can expect it to be busy and an especially exciting three days. On the weekend, a C-category driving competition in the central Arena will add color to the program, which is expected to measure 40-60 teeth, thus qualifying for the national C-category final, which will also take place in Máta at the end of the outdoor season.

The Merely Holiday! visitors will also be entertained by three high-quality concerts in the Csárdakert:

On 21/08/2021 (Saturday) from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Chrome Rt.’S concert ( free entrance )
8/21/2021 th (Saturday) from 8:00 p.m to 9:30 p.m. Zenevonat super show ( visitors entrance ticket )
8/22/2021 th (Sunday) 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. between Wheeled Band concert ( can be visited with a ticket ).

The Wheel Band has already made a video clip from the 1936 Hortobágy film digitized by the Hungarian National Film Archive this year.

The entire series of programs is organized and carried out in accordance with the epidemiological rules in force .