THE FESTIVAL OF THE COUNTRY'S HUNGARIAN MINORITY TAKES PLACE ON AUGUST 24

Ethnic Hungarians on stage

SLOVAK citizens of Hungarian ethnicity will gather in the picturesque valley of Gombasek (Gombaszög) to present the best of their culture at the 45th Slovak Celebration of Hungarian Culture on August 24.
"It is the largest festival of Hungarian culture in Slovakia and the selection of the best that has been presented at other [Slovak] festivals during the year," says Tamás Zubko, the festival's organizer.


THE FESTIVAL is traditionally held above the entrance to Gombasecká Cave.
photo: TASR

SLOVAK citizens of Hungarian ethnicity will gather in the picturesque valley of Gombasek (Gombaszög) to present the best of their culture at the 45th Slovak Celebration of Hungarian Culture on August 24.

"It is the largest festival of Hungarian culture in Slovakia and the selection of the best that has been presented at other [Slovak] festivals during the year," says Tamás Zubko, the festival's organizer.

Around 500 performers will participate in the festival, which runs from 10:30 to 22:00 on Sunday. The event will open with baton twirlers, and will continue with shows by folk dancers, Roma musicians, pop singers, theatrical players, and poets; most of whom have won prizes at other Slovak festivals that took place recently.

Some of the local bands will also invite native Hungarians to perform at the festival. The Hungarian pop band Republic, performing at 20:30, is meant to lure the younger generations to the festival, according to Zubko.

"Apart from the rock music, there will be everything. One can certainly choose from the variety of genres the festival offers," he says.

The festival will take place for the 45th year in what is one of the most beautiful valleys in Slovakia. At the valley' west end is the entrance to the Gombasecká Cave, admired for its thin, 2-3 metre long chalky needle-like formations that contrast sharply with the red surface of the rocky walls.

According to the last census, there are around half a million ethnic Hungarians living in Slovakia, most of whom reside near the Hungarian border. Accounting for one tenth of the country's inhabitants, they are the largest minority in Slovakia.

"The culture of this minority is quite alive. In 1989, after the [Velvet] revolution, it suffered a decline but it has started up again. All along the border, from [the eastern Slovak town of] Čierna nad Tisou to Bratislava, there are groups that keep the culture active," Zubko says.

The Slovak Celebration of Hungarian Culture will take place above the entrance to the Gombasecká Cave, at the west end of the Gombasek valley. The valley is some ten kilometres south along the main road from the town of Rožňava. Tel (Csemadok): at 02/5263-7974.

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