On October 24th, on the occasion of St. Dömötör Day, when in addition to the symbolic collection of cattle from pasture take place, Hortobágyi awaits visitors with a range of traditional, colorful programs to celebrate.
With the onset of cold weather, and the days get shorter, following the traditions of the Shepherds in Hortobágy, both shepherds and their cattle prepare for winter, driving the animals from the steppe pastures to their winter accommodation.
St. Demetrius was one of the best-known patron saints of shepherds in the Great Plain, the collection of grazing farm animals took place around the day of his name. The settlement and wage payment of the shepherds was also connected with a period known as “behajtáshoz” which translates to the recovery but is also known as entrapment. Celebrating the day of Dömötör, the “dömötörő” among the shepherds has always been a great event, for which they prepared well for in advance at the inn, or the so-called in a shepherd’s house, and even had fun for several days, holding a shepherd’s ball.
Hortobágyi Nonprofit Kft. plays a key role in nurturing the traditions of pastoral culture, which is unique in the world and still lives today, in maintaining folk costumes and handicrafts, and in preserving the knowledge of the pastoral society that has been passed on for generations. Today’s people are less and less familiar with these values, and our nationally known events play a major role in introducing and promoting them: the National Goulash Competition and Shepherd’s Meeting, the Hortobágy Horse Days, and the Collection Festival.
The ceremony starts at 2:00 p.m. with the driving of the Racka sheep of Hortobágyi Nonprofit Kft. Across the Nine-Hole Bridge. You will also be able to see the six gray cattle and the fourfold buffalo teeth, which are a rarity, and a horse tooth. According to the traditions of the old accounting system, our accountants present the stock, employees, and the events of the season. The presentation of the Aranyszalma Folk Dance Ensemble from Hajdúnánás adds color to the program. In homage to the old ways, we also greet the Eternal Shepherds of Hortobágy.
Organized by the Hortobágy National Park Directorate, the Crane Festival will be held again this year in connection with the St. Dömötör Day Collection Festival. The dance of cranes, the march of the cranes, watch as 1000’s take to flight, these sights are among the most spectacular natural phenomenon in Hortobágy, the autumn celebration of nature. The crane is a symbol of the Hortobágy National Park, and the famous crane march is the most attractive natural event of the autumn sunsets. Based on the latest crane synchronous data, we can say that currently more than 130,000 cranes are stationed in Hortobágy. The daily, twilight movement of cranes, lasts only a few weeks each year but provides a lifelong experience for those participating in our programs. The highlight of the Crane Festival will be the dawn and dusk crane tours, where participants can observe the breathtaking sight of the crane marching. As part of our guided tours, we will present a stunning view of the cranes flying to their night rest into the overnight location. Tours must be booked in advance at the link below.
All day programs:
- Get to know the natural and cultural values of Hortobágy, especially the autumn bird migration, wild geese and cranes
- Outdoor crane exhibition with interactive elements
- Crane toy house, including table toys, autumn fruit decorations, figurines made of fruits or rags, carving pumpkins, placing wish feathers on a giant crane figure (bring a pre-made pen or make the message yourself on the spot)
- Nature knowledge games jointly organized by the Hortobágy National Park and the Hermann Ottó Institute
- Folk games
- Fairytale + food fair
2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- The passage of shepherds and their cattle over the Nine-Hole Bridge
- Greeting the Eternal Shepherds of Hortobágy
- Breeding animal demonstration
- Horse and sheer five presentation
The St. Dömötör Day Collection Festival and Crane Festival – except for crane tours – can be visited free of charge.