Szombathely’s Historic Carnival is held every August and is the perfect excuse for everyone to dress up and drink lots of wine and beer! Of course, there is slightly more to it than that. For the whole weekend, the town of Szombathely is transformed to reminisce about times gone by. Don’t be surprised if you see a Roman centurion walk past you or a Greek scholar.
Streets are closed off and the whole town gets involved, often making costumes themselves. You’ll find the streets are lined with stalls selling food, drink and traditional Hungarian gifts. There’s as many different types of wine and beer as you could hope for – one stallholder told me that he’d been drunk for the past two days. There’s also a big stage where people come and perform live music.
But the main event that everyone looks forward to is the parade which happens on Saturday evening. Hundreds of people gather at the sides of the road as a procession of historic figures parades past them. The procession isn’t just about seeing people dressed up, it’s a spectacle of dancers, performers and musicians. Throughout the parade (which lasts about an hour) we saw belly dancers, men on stilts, fire breathers, gymnasts and musicians. You didn’t know what you were going to see next.
Even children get involved, with babies and toddlers dressed up in historic costumes. Some of the kids were even carrying flaming torches (probably not the safest thing in the world…)
It’s all just a bit of fun and if you’re ever in this part of Hungary, it’s certainly worth checking out.