Hungarians join together to celebrate their heritage


Audrey Boyce

Bands play Hungarian music from the stage to liven up the event.

Audrey Boyce, Scot Scoop Editor

Hungarians held a festival on the day preceding Mother’s Day, as they have done for the past five years, to bring their culture into the Belmont community at Twin Pines Park.

People danced to traditional folk music, goulash in hand, while children participated in arts and crafts activities. It was almost as if it were a large family reunion, people caught up with one another and reminisced.

“This event is where you meet most of the Hungarians living around the San Francisco Bay Area. We are very spread out. Some are from Napa Valley, Monterey, and Stockton. This event brings all of the Hungarians together,” said Eva Papai, the president of the Hungarian Catholic Mission in San Francisco.

Several food vendors set up around the park to serve traditional Hungarian foods. Many vendors used family recipes.

“We are serving the typical Hungarian goulash. We also have chicken paprikash, and for the vegetarian taste, we have mushroom paprikash. Other vendors are serving a variety of traditional pastries,” Papai said.

Art is an integral part of Hungarian culture. Large pottery, as well as jewelry and paintings, were for sale.

“I have been attending this event since the beginning. I work with clay, make sculptures, and make functional art as well as art on the pottery wheel. I also make textured pieces out of a slab of clay, and I teach these art styles at a high school,” said Haagen Clay, an art teacher and volunteer at the event.

Despite the small population of Hungarians in Belmont itself, Hungarians came from all over to enjoy the event. The event began at 11 p.m., and at 4 p.m., it was still going strong.

“We have people all the way from Hungary here, folk dancing and playing music. Each year, I have seen more and more people attend,” said Eva Servatski, a volunteer at the event.

The event’s meaning, however, was not just to bring together the Hungarians in the community.

“Our true purpose is to introduce the Hungarian culture and food to American society so they can learn what the Hungarian culture is all about,” Papai said.