INSTALLATION OF THE STANDS
The delegations arrived at intervals through the day of November 28th, and used as their rallying point the Veritas Hotel near the Budapest stadium, located about half—way between the Giorgio Perlasca School and the Cultural Centre where the exhibition was to take place.
As is usual at these events, after settling in to their quarters with the attentive help of the teachers, including György and Gabriella, it was not long before some of them went off to explore the Cultural Centre to stake their claim, or else to travel ‘to town’ for an initial foray. Or else to place in the School’s refrigerators the ingredients intended for the European buffet.
First thing on the following day, November 29th, the serious business got under way with the setting up of the stands which had been prepared for the purpose at the Cultural Centre. Just as every year, there was the same enthusiasm on the part of the participants, who at first didn’t know each other but quickly made each other’s acquaintance when borrowing scissors, putting up decorations, dressing the Christmas tree, etc. The centre became just like a beehive whose cells quickly become things of beauty amid a joyful hubbub. By midday all the stands were looking well on the way to being ready.
Setting up the stands
In accordance with tradition, such an event as this cannot do without an official opening. The inauguration took place in the Kôrösi Csoma Sandor Köbanyai cultural complex of Köbanya, a district of Budapest.
The ceremony was presided over by Csilla Dévényi, director of the Giorgio Perlasca School, and was a very simple affair in which we heard speeches from Joos Tamàs (director of the Cultural Centre) from Csilla Dévényi, from Csomós Miklós, Deputy Mayor of Budapest, and from Christiane Keller (founder of Christmas in Europe). Each speaker expressed their pleasure at hosting Christmas in Europe in Budapest, with the participants from 19 schools located in 14 countries, and spoke of the vitality of the spirit of Christmas. When Christiane Keller spoke, it was to point out that this was the second time that Budapest had hosted Christmas in Europe, and that the Giorgio Perlasca School had picked up the challenge of organising the event in a very short time.
Next we heard a trio of trumpets playing the European anthem to conclude the proceedings, loudly applauded by everyone present. The VIPs then visited the stands and had the chance to see how well each country’s representatives promoted their national traditions.
The unpretentious stands