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St. George’s Day Herd and Crane Festival in Hortobágy

The traditional St. George’s Day Herd and Crane Festival will be held on 24th October. The crane is a symbol of the Hortobágy National Park, and the dance of the cranes is the most attractive natural event of autumn in Hortobágy.

St. George was one of the best-known patron saints of shepherds in the Great Plain, the herding of grazing farm animals took place around the day of his name. The settlement and wage payment of the shepherds was also connected with this day.

Grey Cattle

The celebration of St. George’s Day has always been a great event among the shepherds. They were prepared for this well in advance in the inn or in the so-called shepherd’s house, and even had fun for several days, holding a shepherd’s ball.

Racka Sheep

The shepherds of Hortobágyi Nonprofit Kft. still guard their flocks as they did 100-150 years ago. Those interested in this tradition can take part in the ceremony starting at 2 PM by herding the racka sheep across the Nine-Hole Bridge. Visitors will also be able to see the six gray cattle and rare four buffalo. At the closing of the event, participants can also enjoy a foal show.

With the onset of cold weather, and as the days get shorter, in Hortobágy, following the traditions of their ancestors and old folk custom, both shepherds and their cattle prepare for winter, driving the animals from the steppe pastures to their winter accommodation.

In addition to the St. George’s Day Herd festival, the Crane Festival will also be held at the same time. 

The crane birds are a symbol of the Hortobágy National Park, and the crane march is the most attractive natural event of the autumn sunsets. Based on the latest data, more than 80,000 cranes in Hortobágy now. The crane spectacle lasts for only a few weeks, but it provides a lifelong experience for those participating in it.  The highlight of the Crane Festival will be the dawn, day, and dusk crane tours, where participants can observe the breathtaking sight of the crane dancing. 

The festivals, excluding crane tours, can be visited free of charge. Registration for tours is required.