The forebear of the biggest Hungarian goulash festival?

The forebear of the biggest Hungarian goulash festival : once the old shepherd, Gábor Farkas had a though. He had the idea to call together his mates to a festive occasion. They had a monumental plan: in the forenoon of September 22nd, 1935 the participants of the feast in full rig, the older shepherds on donkey back, the shepherd girls with golden crowning, are going to the church, where a mass is held. After that, the march goes to the Móric-park (nowadays known as Tiszaliget) where about 11 o’clock after the sign of bells and ringers the shepherds was swearing in four leagues.


Namely, the shepherds of the Nagykunság (a part of the Great Plain) have made four leagues: wranglers, goulashes, shepherds and swine-herds. Thus four shepherd group makes a league, and swears that every June 18th they go to mess in the nearest church and in every year’s September they celebrate a national shepherd day.

After the fun begins, which starts with the lunch about midday under the trees of the Móric-park. The shepherds were cooking their tasty and juicy foods, the beef goulash, the sheep-stew, mush with sheep, lamb pepper pot, calf stew, roasted pork and the lebbencs-soup and they sold them for 50 fillér per portion in small, shiny kettles. It belongs to the originality that they given forks made of cane. For those, who had not found any tasty from those Hungarian foods, they could try the steak-houses on spot. After the lunch, comes the stitch wine from the “Kunság”, and in the mood they show some shepherd life scenes, and to the top of all, they show a wrangler wedding, which finishes in Monday morning.


As they planned, the celebration has begun. About 5-600 bronzed faced, beardy shepherds, herds, wranglers, and girls in crowning have marched through the city. They made so much attention, that the crowd from the city went to the Móric-park all day.

In the park villager specialties has been sold laid to the ground or on small tables: stipa, water caltrop chaplets (cost a whole fortune), fruits, refreshments. For those, who wanted, could try their luck: they had to hit the neck of a bottle with a ring.

During this, the foods have been boiling on the open fire. During the fun, drinks has been flowing, music has been played, dances begun. The crowd forgot that the stew has not finished in time, they danced through the wrangler wedding about 4 hours long.


The shepherd day has attracted some celebrated people. Arthur Sacher, the Austrian colones, famous author looked on everything, was there late night. Ernő Szép, the master of lyrical feelings from Budapest, Béla Paulini writer, author, the founder of the Gyöngyösbokréta movement (peasant exhibition of dance, songs and games) and Sándor Dallos, the writer of Mihály Munkácsy’s biographical novel were visited this event.

The contemporary press heatedly reported about the preparations, but they were dissatisfied with the results. “We do not know, what the attending writers will be writing about this event, because they have not actualized almost anything from the planned programs. Anyways, it was a cute, colorful and interestingly Hungarian what could be seen out there, and for the beautiful Hungarian, villager feeling we could forget about the theater-like attractions.

The initiation of the old shepherd has not lived up to the expectations. At least, the following events have not been organized. But in 1999, some people in Szolnok had the willing to continue this. They started the International Goulash Cooking and Traditionalist Festival. After 70 years many of the elements of the first event, has been realized.

With the permission of the organizers of the Goulash Festival of Szolnok. Source: Károly Kósa: Shepherd Festival in Szolnok