What is it to be Magyar?

For some reason that question has been on my mind lately.  Maybe it’s because of the news, the posts I’ve written, and reading, or maybe because my birthday is next month?  The list could be endless but I think it all boils down to just “belonging” to me.  Yes I was born in the U.S. so depending on which way you interpret the law, I might be a Hungarian Citizen or a United States Citizen or a dual citizen.  Usually when I’m asked I say I’m Hungarian though.  I don’t say that because I am not grateful of the opportunities provided to me and both my parents by the U.S., because I am.  I say that because I believe most, if not all people need a sense of belonging.  It’s my heritage; why shouldn’t I be proud of that?  Does it mean Hungarian’s are perfect and without flaws?  No, of course not.  Our identities, our culture, traits, nationalities, languages, all makes us unique!

Sadly those same things, are seemingly viewed quite differently as of late.  When I was younger, I remember some people saying to me “igazi Magyar, ” and it brought a smile of pride to my face.  In English it would translate to “real Hungarian/Magyar.”  This wasn’t because I somehow felt superior or better than anyone.  Actually far from it because most of my life I’ve always felt like a misfit.  It made me feel proud because someone else had actually noticed I cared about my heritage.  I knew how to cook Hungarian food and speak the language quite well; I knew my family genealogy and I owned and worn a shirt with Hungarian embroidery.  I had and have Hungarian folk-art on my walls, along with old and new Hungarian books in my library.  Maybe I even thought I’d marry a Hungarian man one day but I didn’t.  I joined the United States Navy instead and married a man born and raised in the south.  We have two boys that I teasingly say to my husband are “mutts,” but you know what, I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world!!

So regardless of what some people might think, in my opinion a few bad apples do not spoil the tree.  Instead of assuming we are all the same because of the actions of a few in the past or the present; judge the individual as just that, an INDIVIDUAL!



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3 Responses to What is it to be Magyar?

  1. iamoceansroar says:

    i had written this whole thing out and then erased it, so now i will say that i sort of agree, but mostly disagree. If you were born in the U.S., then you are American, at least when you are there, otherwise you are dislocating yourself from other Americans. It seems like you do not care about that part of your life. i am from New Orleans and we are called Cajuns, i too feel mostly French, but i say i am French American because both parts make up the whole of me. i think the problem with countries like the U.S., is it is too mixed and when people from different cultures mix together, but try to cling to their heritage it because a boiling soup. This is just my opinion. i do see Hungarian as prideful, but i lived among them for 11 years. i loved the country at first, but the pride thing started and the depression killed it.

    • Kat Bultman says:

      I agree with you actually, so maybe I did not explain myself right. Whenever I fill out a form for example I mark “other” and say Hungarian American so I personally don’t feel lumped into some non-existent category. It has nothing to do with the color or my eyes or skin or anything else for that matter. America is a melting pot, which is made up of different types of “vegetables” like in a soup. We can call it carrot soup, green bean soup, pea soup, etc., or just vegetable soup. Sometimes I just feel like those individual flavors get lost somewhere along the line. (sorry about the metaphors). I don’t feel having pride in your heritage is a bad thing, I do feel some people turn in into one and make it about being superior in some way; to me it’s not. I also don’t believe it should be used as a blame game; which many people seem to do too. So anyway….I still feel you can be part of the collective whole and be a individual at the same time. 🙂

      • iamoceansroar says:

        That explains it better for me, although i actually think of U.S. as a salad, which is mixed yet each item retains its own flavour. i agree about the blame game too. i do not like it that certain groups want to collect money or special privileges for the things done to their ancestors. i think the Cajuns could, if we were those sort of people, but no we are not. We picked ourselves up and carried on.

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