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St. George’s Day Hortobágy Herd-out Festival + Craft Market (25th April)

In what is a long-time tradition, the St. George’s Day Herd-out festival and crafts fair has been canceled this year as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The importance of this annual event for raising awareness of Hortobágy as a UNESCO World Heritage Site cannot be understated because of its cultural significance.  At this time of year, the work of animal husbandry comes to the fore, as cattle are moved from their winter dwellings into the open grasslands and pastures.  It is a time when shepherds and farmhands are hired and for the counting of sheep. 

The event’s importance is because how the work is done today, is how it was done long ago, Hortobágy is a window into a way of life. The tradition is protected, maintained for future generations to witness, and to garner an understanding of what came before.  The nearby city of Debrecen was built upon the herdsman way of life, a waypoint along trading routes that grew from being a settlement into a city, a trading post which prospered.  However, the way of life started long before the establishment of Hortobágy the place, which was established to supply Debrecen with cattle.  The way of life came first, it brought the trading, which led to the establishment of the settlement which later became.

At this event, the visitors can meet the shepherds and see the cattle. A herd of ‘szükremarha’ (gray cattle) grazes at the pillars of the bridge.  To honor the traditions, the cattle are driven through the Nine-holed Bridge, then the “horse breeders with bells”, the famous “plains five” march through, while a fabulous herd of ‘szürkemarha’ grazes at the pillars of the bridge.

You can do more than just see the cattle, here at the famous inn of Hortobágy hungry visitors can experience the traditional, unique local dishes made from gray cattle, cakiel sheep, and buffalo.

There are no artificial ingredients here!

The craftsmen’s market provides 100% bio meals, bio wines, unique crafted goods to the backdrop of fabulous displays and events which are organized for the pleasure of the visitor.

Of course, all of this is what you are missing because this vital event is canceled for 2020.  Be sure not to miss out in 2021.  Bookmark it now for next year!

Photos by István Derencsényi photojournalist