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International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8th  March every year. In the 20th century it used to be a focal point in the movement for women’s rights, today it’s more like an acknowledgement of women’s presence and status in our society. Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time on February 28, 1909 in New York, organised by the Socialist Party of America. In 1910 the International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested a Women’s Day be held annually. March 8 had predominantly been celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.We’d like to introduce you some of Hungary’s finest ladies from the past.

Hungary is proud to have some remarkable female characters – saints, queens, artists and sporting legends among them – in its 1100-years history. The list is long but let us highlight 5+1 women of Hungarian origins who made us proud, and with whom you might meet when wandering in the streets and squares of Budapest.

The natural isle in the middle of the Danube used to be called “The Isle of Rabbits” for centuries. It was re-christened to Margaret Isle in the 15th century, after the Legend of Saint Margaret came to light. It is one of the oldest legends written in Hungarian language about the life and the wonderful deeds of St. Margaret, daughter of King Béla IV, a Dominican nun who was imprisoned on the Isle of Rabbits for decades. Today, not only the isle but also Margaret Bridge is wearing her name.

Margaret Island

1138 Budapest, Margitsziget

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In the late 19th and early 20th century Budapest became one of cultural capitals of Central-Europe. This was the time when Hungary’s most famous divas burst into light, namely Mari Jászai, a celebrated actress and Lujza Blaha, the young and cheerful prima donna. To this day, the people of Budapest have a strong connection to both of them. Blaha Lujza Square in the heart of Pest is wearing the diva’s name, while Mari Jászai’s name is written into the annals each year as the most respected prize of the Hungarian theatre scene, the ‘Jászai Mari Award’ wears her name.

Jászai Mari Square

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Blaha Lujza Square

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Not only kings but also queens were ruling Hungary during the centuries. Mary Theresa of Habsburg-Lorraine (1740-1780) was crowned after the German war of succession. When she called the noblemen of her empire to Vienna to ask for their support, the Hungarian princes and barons reportedly burst out in unison:  “Our lives and blood for the Queen”! Having prevailed in the war, Mary Theresa was formally crowned Queen of Hungary in 1741. She stands out in memory as one of the longest-serving leaders of the country. Today, the 7th district and part of the Grand Boulevard is named after her (Terézváros and Teréz körút, respectively).

Teréz Körút

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The most popular royal highness in Hungary was Elisabeth Wittelsbach – also known as Sissi, – the charming young wife of Emperor Franz Josef II. In the years of mourning in the wake of the beaten-down Hungarian revolution of 1848/49, Sissi was the one in the Vienna court who stood for the rights of the Hungarian people. With her cheerful nature she had done a lot to conciliate her husband towards his folks, which resulted the Settlement of 1867 between Austria and Hungary. When the royal pair visited Budapest in the early 1900s, they received a heroes’ welcome and Sissi was embraced by the nation. You may pop into her name in Budapest from time to time, first and foremost when crossing the Elisabeth Bridge, and her monument at Madách Square is a must-see.

Elisabeth Bridge

1013 Budapest, Erzsébet híd

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+1 Hungarian sportswomen are among the most successful in the history of the Olympic Games. But none more so than Krisztina Egerszegi, who won 5 gold medals in backstroke swimming at three Olympic Games: Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996). Her career was acknowledged with numerous awards, and through the years the ‘Little Mouse’ (her nickname in her youth) became Queen Krisztina, a sporting legend and a national heroine in Hungary.

So Gentlemen, let’s not forget to buy a bunch of flowers and/or some sweets for your loved ones today, be it the Lady of your Heart or a woman you love and respect. Should you wish to make March 8 even more memorable, take a look at the beautiful jewellery that Marquise has on offer, at 20% discount on selected items.

Photo: Pixabay

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