Today is a mourning day for Hungarians. We remember the thirteen Hungarian generals the Austrian Empire executed on the 6th of October, 1849 in the city of Arad after the Russian troops, whom the Austrians called in for help, quelled the Hungarian Revolution of 1848–1849.
Legend has it that while the leaders of the Hungarian army were being executed, the Austrian generals were drinking beer and they were arrogantly clinking their beer mugs together in celebration. Thus Hungarians vowed they would never to clink glasses while drinking beer for 150 years thereafter. Although this time has passed, the tradition still continues today. I never miss the opportunity to explain to foreigners why I wouldn’t clink with beer. 🙂
We regard the executed officers “vértanú” (martyr) who died in defence of our freedom and independence. A lot of statues, plaques, institutions, streets and squares keep their memory alive in Hungary and wherever Hungarians live. Many of the Arad martyrs were not ethnic Hungarians, some didn’t even speak Hungarian, but we all think of them as Hungarians regardless. I’m going to light a candle tonight in their memory.