The Day of National Unity is the true celebration of the Székely national anthem, as the text and melody have been symbols of Hungarian unity for almost 100 years. Thus, it is not surprising that the Council of 12th District chose 4th June and the 100th anniversary of Trianon to unveil the memorial plaque on the house in which the author of the lyrics lived under városmajor Street 28/C. 

Zoltán Pokorni and Krisztina Fonti unveil the memorial plaque on the Day of National Unity (source: György Sárközy/hegyvidé

The memorial plaque was unveiled on 4 June on the building in which György Csanády, born 125 years ago, lived. The blue and yellow wreath is reminiscent of the colours of the Székely flag (Photo György Sárközy/

György Csanády was born in Székelyudvarhely (Rom.: Odorheiu Secuiesc) in 1895. He completed his secondary school studies in the Reformed College of the city. Then, following the Treaty of Trianon, he fled to Hungary, as many others did, where h participated in the founding of the Association of Székely University and College Students. As several thousand students had fled to Hungary at the time, Csanády and his fellows invited several thousand youths into the organization. The applicants were divided into nationalities based on the regions from where they came and held meetings on Deák Square in the large yellow building, Kemnitzer House (Wodianer House). Later, these meetings were moved to the present-day 12th District.

Kemnitzer House on Deák Square in 1912 (Photo: Fortepan/No: 86068)

The Kremnitzer House was also known as 'The two Turks' because of the two turbaned Turkish figures depicted on the façade. Photographed around 1900. (Photo: FSZEK Budapest Collection)

Csanády wrote the Székely national anthem in 1921 for the annual meeting known as the May Sacrifice. Kálmán Mihálik wrote the music to the poem. The complete work was first sung sometime in the early 1920s at one of the meetings in Aquincum.

The cover of a 1940-edition of the Székely National Anthem (Rózsavölgyi Publishing House)

The Székelys held their event known as the May Sacrifice in Zugliget and on Sváb Hill several times between 1922 and 1941, as these locations were most reminiscent of the Transylvanian Mountains. The third issue of Honismeret commemorated one of these gatherings as follows in 2001: "They most often though back to their homeland in Zugliget in Buda, as it was this area that remnded them most of their homeland. They would were Székely folk clothings and carve sticks, embroider ribbons, weave wreaths and write chronicles. They wanrted to feel a sense of brotherhood and purpose. [...] At times one thousand,at others two-hundred people woudl attend these gatherings and write songs about their time in hiding." 

Potrait of György Csanády from A magyar tüzér. A magyar tüzérség története (The Hungarian Gunner. A History of Hungarian Artillery), 1939

Székely gate on Sváb Hill in 1929, the gate was trorn down before 1937 (Source: László Siklóssy: Svábhegy [Sváb Hill], 1929)

On 30 May 1940, the Új Magyarság [New Hungarians] periodical reported on another such gathering: "The Association of Székely University and College Students, the Association of Székely Men, and other Székely organizations are to hold a 'sacrifice' at the ski-jump course on Sváb Hill on 1 June at 4 pm. The vent will be followed by dinner an dance at the Disznófő restaurant."

The garden of the Disznófő restaurant where Székely youth often congregated in the 1930s and 1940s. (Photo: Hegyvidék Local History Collection)

The Székely anthem was banned under the communist regime, but this did not affect its popularity. The song has been the official national anthem of Székely Land since 2009. György Csanády published several collections of poetry after the Székely National Anthem and became an editor of Új Élet [New life] in 1926, and Híd [Bridge] in 1927. He also worked for the Hungarian National Radio, where he became well-known for his work as a director of radio plays, as one of the pioneers of the genre in Hungary.

The secrets of directing for radio – Two directors in the Studio: Ferenc Kiss and György Csanády. Standing with his back to the camera Ferenc Kiss instructs the actors as György Csanády (seated) listens (Source: Tolnai Világlapja [Tolnai's World Journal], 4 January 1933)

As a result of his success, he became Deputy Chief Director at the National Radio from 1943 to 1948. He died at the age of 57 on 3 May 1952. He was buried in the Farkasrét Cemetery, and his coffin was covered with soil from Székelyland. According to his will, he was later reburied in Székelyland. When visiting Sváb Hill and Zugliget, it is worth remembering that the Székelys considered the area their second home for many years.

Cover photo: The new memorial plaque on György Csanády's former residence, Városmajor Street 28/C. (Photo: Csilla Halász)