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Wales and Hungary to celebrate cultural ties with folk event

A brand-new celebration of Wales’ connection with Hungary is set to take place in Newport this month, featuring Welsh language music and traditional Hungarian folk dances.

Held on Saturday 18 May at the Pill Millennium Centre, the event will kick off with a rousing performance by acclaimed Welsh folk singer and songwriter Gwilym Bowen Rhys, followed by an interactive Hungarian ‘dance house’ with Bristol’s DunAvon Folk Dance Ensemble.

The first-of-its-kind celebration – organised by Magyar Cymru and the Hungarian Cultural Society of Newport – marks the third annual Welsh-Hungarian Friendship Day (14 May), an initiative launched in 2022 to commemorate the growing links between the two nations.

Balint Brunner, Founder of Magyar Cymru, commented: “This year, our goal is to create an immersive cultural experience that strengthens the bond between our two nations. We’re excited to introduce our Welsh friends to Hungarian folklore and to share the beauty of the Welsh language with even more Hungarians in South Wales.”

Marta Kecskes from the Hungarian Cultural Society of Newport added: “As the largest Hungarian community in Wales, we’re proud to see Newport becoming a hub for Welsh-Hungarian Friendship Day celebrations this year. We hope to be able to turn the event into an annual tradition over the coming years.”

The event is supported by the Arts Council of Wales Night Out scheme, the Liszt Institute – Hungarian Cultural Centre London, and Ceredigion-based Best of Hungary who will be providing an onsite buffet for visitors.

It is one of several community-led activities set to coincide with Magyar Cymru’s Welsh-Hungarian Friendship Day celebrations this year. Between 17-19 May, Hungarian community artist Eden Ivicz will host a series of activities at Clwb y Bont in Pontypridd, including a drop-in embroidery workshop, a poem library, and a Welsh-Hungarian maypole celebration.

Earlier in the week, the University of South Wales will stage a free event at its Cardiff campus with Hungarian author Andrea Tompa and translator Jozefina Komporaly, moderated by Hungarian-born USW academic Dr Marta Minier.

The initiative’s website, magyar.cymru/14may, hosts an ever-growing calendar of Welsh-Hungarian Friendship Day activities, as well as a trilingual ‘Get Involved’ guide with tips and ideas for families, businesses, schools, libraries, and artists wanting to join the festivities next week.

Tickets to the flagship Newport event with Gwilym Bowen Rhys are available online via magyar.cymru/newport.