By Ákos Böhm, VP of HAAW
The year of 2020 will be memorable for everyone, as we had to learn how to accommodate to the new norms of the pandemic world and to find new ways to celebrate our traditions. I have to admit that we are really good at adapting as we can mark down two different-in-style – compared to previous ones – but successful events in December.
Let me start with our first occasion, which is one of my favorite days of my childhood – and my current years as well – the day of Santa Claus (Mikulás). True to our tradition, Santa came to our town on the 6th of December. This time he arrived to the city of Woodinville, more accurately to the Prohibition Cellars. They generously offered their winery to organize this lovely event and made this special day available for the children of the Hungarian American Association of Washington. The presents were made by Santa’s busy helpers Csaba Orbán and Enikő Orbán, which you could pick up between 10 am to 5 pm in scheduled small groups aligned with the government’s guidelines.
Children are always spoiled these days, but this year things were a little different for the grown-up crowd as well. We were treated with delicious mulled wine made by Szabrina Faludi and Sándor Faludi. There were pretty handmade soaps from Zsóka Jakab. We were provided a nice selection of books from the Hungarian library thanks to Bernadette Dósa and Julianna Polner and last but not least, adding to the old traditions, this year we could buy some sweet or savory chimney funnel cakes from Turul Foods.
Let’s move on to our main happening in December, the Hungarian Christmas Event. Bigger gatherings were prohibited this year, so we had to work around the new rules and find a way to include all of our members in an uplifting show. The details of the program were summarized in a nicely designed invitation letter, thanks to Valéria Mercz.
I have to say that the ceremony turned out to be a huge success. We experienced a smooth and intimate virtual program via Zoom, which I think was a pioneer move in the life of our Association. The participation rate was beyond our anticipation. We were thrilled to see the number of families joining to our virtual event. There were 60 computers logged into the meeting so even with a conservative assumption, we can say that at least 180 people were watching the show that day. It definitely created Christmas Spirit and celebrated the Advent Preparation. The thoughtful and hard work showed again that it can result in a beautiful event despite the difficulties of the digital world.
The host, Hungarian actor Miska Szabados, led us through numerous great performances played by younger and older members of the Association. You can find the list of performances below. Thank you all for your energy and time you invested into the preparation of your great show!
If you were not able to join or just want to reminisce here is the detailed program of the Christmas Event:
After the Presidential Greetings from Csaba Orbán we saw performances made by the members of the Hungarian school:
- Levente Kerekes – Singing (live)
- Noah Sandler – Megjött már a télapó (live)
- Tekla Bede – Pálfalvi Nándor: Karácsony (live)
- Hungarian Adult Class – Dzsida Jenő: Itt van a szép karácsony (video)
- Léda and Kolos Barkoczy – Bartos Erika: Sünkarácsony (live)
- Ádam Török and his singers (video)
They were followed by the Hungarian Scouts Group and Dance Group:
- Flóra – Forgatós 1 (video)
- Lili Orbán – Betlehem, Betlehem (live)
- Szabrina Faludi – Hungarian Scout Video (video)
- Polner brothers – Mentovics Éva: Mese a karácsonyról (live)
- Dani Pap – Szalai Borbála: Mesevilág (live)
- Emese Orbán – Kanyadi Sándor: Aki fázik (live)
- Izabella Shull – Hétvári Andrea: Karácsony este (live)
- Margit Wadsworth – Donaszy Magda: Télapó (live)
- Réka Mezei – Várfalvy Emöke: Adventi séta (live)
- Márton Mezei – K. Lászlo Szilvia: December (live)
- Fruzsina Bede – Ady: Karácsonyi vers (live)
Besides these performances we were entertained by additional artists showing their talent:
- Piano play by Alexandra Mayer (live)
- Miska Szabados and Iza Szabados – Másik télapó (video)
- Benjamin Szakáll – Ó szép fenyő, ó szép fenyő (video)
At the end of the night Miska Szabados recited ‘Betlehemi királyok’ and our president Csaba Orbán closed the ceremony with a Christmas playlist created by Zoltán Homoródi.
I think that these events were very important especially this past year. Beside the fact that it showed how tenacious our small community is, it brought happiness into our everyday life in this upside-down world.
I would also like to say thank you for the time and effort our event organizers took to bring us these memorable days! Without your hard work behind the scenes, it would have been impossible to achieve these quality events and level of joy we met!