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HUNGARIAN HARVEST DANCE
The tradition of the Hungarian Harvest Dance began in the very early years of Hungarian Settlement and became an annual event by 1921. Community member theorize that the early settlers either brought the dances from Hungary when they came to America, or reconstructed them from what they remember taking place in their native villages.
The Harvest Dance usually took place in the fall of the year in October or November. By the 1930s, two harvest dances took place in the community, one sponsored by the Catholic church and the other sponsored by the Presbyterian church. Often, the same dancers and band performed at both places. Many non-Magyars came to the festivities to watch the dancing and partake of the Hungarian bread, pastries and other food offered for sale at the dances. The Hungarian Harvest Dance drew large crowds of people who were eager to watch the Harvest Dancers perform, partake of the Hungarian delicacies, and dance into the night. Streamers of red, white, and green, the national colors of Hungary, adorned the dance halls. As part of the decor, the Magyars proudly displayed the American and Hungarian flags. A canopy of fruit, consisting of apples, oranges, and grapes, hung from the rafters by strings to complete the festive atmosphere. Occasionally, sweet potato vines or other types of vines were used as part of the decoration with the fruit.
Community effort makes possible the continuation of the Hungarian Harvest Dance each year. On the first Saturday of every October, the AHSCA sponsors the annual Hungarian Harvest Dance, which is currently held at the American Legion Hall on La. Hwy. 43, near Springfield. In traditional-style costumes and accompanied by authentic Hungarian folk music, their dance group performs a series of dances that date back to the early years of Hungarian Settlement. The dancers, dressed in white costumes, decorated in red, white, and green (the colors of the Hungarian flag), still perform beneath a canopy of fruit, hanging from the rafters to commemorate the harvest season. At the completion of the dance routine, the audience is invited to "steal" the fruit. In conjunction with the annual Harvest Dance, the AHSCA offers Hungarian Dinners that usually consist of cabbage rolls (toltott kaposzta), cucumber salad (uborka salata), Hungarian sausage (kolbasz) and homemade Hungarian bread and pastries.