The sixth season of the series Hungaricums Around the World hit the screens this month, showcasing the exciting life of Hungarians in the United States.
The term “Hungaricum” is a collective term indicating a value worthy of distinction and highlighting within a unified system of qualification, classification, and registry and which represents the high performance of Hungarian people thanks to its typically Hungarian attribute, uniqueness, specialty and quality.
The team behind the production traveled across the U.S. to visit Hungarian communities living abroad. One of the largest Hungarian colonies is in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where you can still run into Hungarian shops and restaurants here and there.
In the neighbourhood, it was primarily members of the Hasidic Jewish community who preserved their culture, and “roughly one in two of the older people in the neighbourhood spoke Hungarian”, according to the series. Many of the younger ones no longer speak the language, but even they have preserved anecdotes and sayings from their ancestors.
In New Jersey (including New Brunswick), neighbouring New York, the series found an active community where religion is also a major cohesive force: Father Imre, the local parish priest, plays a central role in the community. The parish priest also pointed out that there is a difference between Hungarians who arrived as refugees in ‘1956 and those who emigrated later, of their own free will.
Moving further east in the U.S., Hungaricums Around the World found that Hungarians were fewer and fewer in number. In Pittsburgh, once home to many Hungarians, only small, scattered communities remain – although the Huszár restaurant, for example, is still popular in the city.
The contrast is stark, however, with the city of Cleveland, which historically has always been home to one of the largest Hungarian colonies in recent decades (along with the surrounding state of Ohio), and where an active community of thousands still exists today.
Thousands of people in the city still speak Hungarian to some extent, and there is even a local Hungarian museum that preserves the history of the local community.
In the south, among other destinations, the series takes a look at St. Louis, Missouri, where Kossuth Avenue still bears the of the Hungarian statesman Lajos Kossuth, who made a successful speaking tour in America after escaping Hungary following the failed War of Independence in 1848-49.
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