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EVENT CALENDAR

OPERA BALL

February

A social event has been reborn. Once a year, leading lights in Hungarian culture, science, politics and business rub shoulders at the Opera Ball. First held in 1886, the event returned to the cultural calendar in 1996 after 62 years absence. Today, it is the largest and most important social occasion attended by all the key figures in Hungarian public life.

BUDAPEST SPRING FESTIVAL

Second half of March

At festival time, Budapest comes alive with music, making it more irresistible than ever. A rich selection of aural treats at the magnificent Opera House is augmented by a wide variety of concerts held in Budapest's spellbinding palaces and churches.

SUMMER OPERA AND BALLET FESTIVAL

First two weeks of August

In early August, the State Opera House plays host to the BudaFest Summer Opera and Ballet Festival. The program of events features internationally reputed artists from Hungary and beyond.

SZIGET (ISLAND) FESTIVAL

August

Every summer, thousands of music fans and party animals from all over Europe pitch up at a deserted shipyard island (Hajógyári sziget) for a seven-day outdoor extravaganza. The event has grown into Central Europe's largest music festival, but it has much more to offer than just concerts.

JEWISH SUMMER FESTIVAL

September

The Jewish Summer Festival, staged in late August and early September, features concerts, film screening, a book week, gastronomy days and exhibitions. Events centre around the Dohány Synagogue, the world's second largest synagogue.

BUDAPEST INTERNATIONAL WINE FESTIVAL

September

Over 100 winegrowers bring more then 1,000 wines to the east and west terraces of the Buda Castle for the country's largest wine trade event. In addition to fine wine, the festival traditionally offers a rich variety of gastronomic delights and jazz and folk bands entertain visitors on the festival stage. The Outdoor Village Museum in Szentendre provides a parallel venue with a more traditional focus, including grape treading and pressing, must and wine tasting, local delicacies, craft demonstrations, dancers, musicians and entertainers. The two venues are linked by a pleasure boat along the Danube. The Wine Festival Gastronomy Gala takes place in the Hungarian National Gallery.

CHRISTMAS MARKET

December

Christmas fairs are held all over the city, but the traditional market can be found on Vörösmarty Square, where seasonal performances are an ideal complement to mulled wine and tasty treats. In addition, museums turn back the clock on festive folk traditions, staging fairs selling a variety of arts and crafts.

NEW YEAR'S EVE

The new year's celebrations begin on 30 December with a series of appetiser events, such as the grand concert by the world-famous 100-strong Gypsy Orchestra. A ball is staged at the Opera House on the 31st, and a party on Parade Square ushers in the New Year in style.