Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Thann longen folk to goon on pilgrimages.
  [Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales: Prologue]

The image I show was taken on September 16—yes, of 2012. It comes from one of our ancestral cradles, one yet to be documented on Ghulf Genes; it is Sümeg, in Hungary, where the paternal side of my family had its seat for many generations. The occasion of this pilgrimage was the September 15 celebration of Our Lady of Sorrows. The picture was part of the lead story in Sümeg és Vidéke (Sümeg and its Region), a monthly. The story was titled “Prayer and song on pilgrimage,” and subtitled “Faith unites a community, strengthen the soul, points the way.” We’ve strayed a long ways from our roots, of course. Such a story, on the front page, is quite unthinkable in Grosse Pointe News (a weekly) or Grosse Pointe Magazine (a slick bimonthly).

I got a copy of Sümeg és Vidéke in the modern way, as a PDF delivered by e-mail, from my brother, Baldy, who visited there recently. He and my cousin, Tibor, who is a Canadian these days, visited Sümeg during a recent vacation, and while there, also spent some time in the Darnay Múzeum. It was founded by a great-uncle of ours, Kálmán, and later named after him. It is filled with historical and literary materials, portraits,  and collections of the emerging technology of its time, the late nineteenth century, including weaponry. Baldy and Tibor had their picture taken there, flanking the statue of Kálmán—and the magazine also included that visit as one of its stories in this issue.

The strong impression produced in me, looking at these stories, but particularly the story of that here-and-now pilgrimage reaching Sümeg from the region but also including large numbers of foreigners, is the deep layering of culture. There is a fundamental grounding present in all culture; it may change but never really disappears. And where modern culture thins out somewhat, thus in so-called backward regions, traditional culture is still green and full of bloom and moisture. It is, like nature, tenacious and persistent. It is not only alive but thriving in another of our cradles, Tirschenreuth in Northern Bavaria—indeed in that region generally; Pope Benedict XVI hails from the Altötting region, Southern Bavaria; and, of course, one can find living patches of it all over Europe. (In the image, Baldy, Kálmán, and Tibor.)

At the same time, wouldn’t you know it, there are also ads. One, offered by the Mobil Bazár, made me smile. Here you can buy Mobiltelefonokat (használt és új), Headset-eket, Laminálast, and more— respectively mobile phones (used and new), headsets, and lamination services. Other ads, however, sell pre-chopped heating-wood in gigantic crates, heavy construction equipment, socks, and car services featuring automated auto-diagnosis, among many others. Life, in other words, goes on—on many levels.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, what a fun post! And to know there's a Darnay Muzeum in Sümeg, that is delightful! Looks like Baldy and Peggy's trip was full of interesting stops. I look forward to hearing more about it one day... perhaps soon.

    Thanks for the write-up and for sharing the photos.


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