streda, 20. júna 2012

‘Ballagás’ (Hungary)

The ceremony called ‘ballagás’ in Hungarian means that graduating secondary school students say a ceremonial farewell to their ‘alma mater’. Here in Hungary every school has their own style of celebrating this event. I attend Varga Katalin Secondary Grammar School in Szolnok, Hungary so I will describe our way of celebration.
This occasion is kept on two different days. One day the school-leavers say goodbye to us, the lower-year students and the teachers, then the next day or the day after (on Saturday) there is a big celebration with family members.
This year the first ceremony took place on the 3rd of May. On this extraordinary day all students wore formal clothes, black and white, to show our respect to the senior students. Before our first lesson we decorated their classrooms with beautiful flowers and we wrote moving quotation on the blackboards. We also put their ‘farewell satchels’ on their desks, in which there was a list of classmates, a copy of a class photograph, and a farewell savoury scone. Then we had to go back to our own classrooms and also decorate them with a quotation and with a bouquet on the class teachers’ desks. We also had to move our desks so there would be enough place for the school-leaving classes to walk around the classrooms while singing breathtaking songs of farewells. After the school leavers had visited every classroom, every class walked to the courtyard and the celebration went on. One of the students said goodbye to the seniors then one of the school-leavers gave a speech. After that the principal of our school had a few solemn words to the students. This was, as usual, followed by the ‘Teacher’s Oscar Award’ ceremony, in which the current most popular teacher’s name was announced and he was given a small gift.
Then the second ceremony took place on the 5th of May. We call this event the City School-Leaving Ceremony as every secondary school of Szolnok gathers for a final march along the high street as far as the Szigligeti Theatre on the bank of the River Tisza. While lower-grade students form cordons on the two sides of the road, school-leavers sing amazing songs, and carry their colorful flowers, which they get from their relatives. At the same time their family members make photos and video records of them. Finally, when we arrive at the theatre, they let their colourful balloons go so they can fly away, which symbolizes leaving school.
I think it is a breathtakingly moving sight.
At this event the city mayor also gave a speech. Then every family went home or to a restaurant for a meal with their guests.

Written by Bettina Héri (Miss) 11. B
Photograph by Marianna Kajdi (Ms)