In many myths and legends, birds connect the human world to the divine or supernatural realms that are beyond ordinary experience.
In Hungary, there are two main legends that surround a mythical bird called the “Turul“, which is attributed to shaping the fate of the Hungarians. The bird is usually described as a giant eagle or a falcon with a sword in it’s talons.
The first legend of the Turul tells the story of Princess Emese, consort of a Scythian king, who once had a dream in which a Turul appeared to her. In this dream, a crystal-clear stream started to flow from her, and as it moved Westward, it grew into a mighty river. This dream represented her symbolic impregnation by the Turul, and meant that she would give birth to a line of great rulers. Emese later gave birth to Álmos, who was the father of Árpád, the great leader of the Magyars and founder of Hungary.
In the second legend, the leader of the Hungarian tribes had a dream in which eagles attacked their horses and a Turul came and saved them. This symbolized that they had to migrate, and when they did so, the Turul helped them to show the way and eventually led them to the land that became Hungary.
Because of these legends, the Turul became a symbol of Magyar identity that has been represented throughout history and is still used today including on the coat of arms of the Hungarian Army and the Office of National Security.
Several statues of the Turul are also displayed throughout Hungary. The most prominent is the bronze statue situated on the railing of Buda Castle, which was sculpted by Gyula Donath in 1905.
Category: Customs & Traditions
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Suzanne Urpecz, creator and editor of The Hungarian Girl. Click on my About page for more info.