Showcase of all things Hungarian

Kali (right) speaking to fashion retailer Hajnalka Bessenya about Romani fashioned handbags. — Photos: RICKY LAI/The Star

YOU find lace on top of the television, on the back of an armchair, or even on the sofa.

But, once it is soiled, it is considered of little value and gets thrown away. Hungarian lace, however, is considered one of the best in the world and are treasured heirlooms.

The unique Hungarian lacing technique was a joy to behold during the inaugural Hungary Fair 2016 recently.

The event, organised by the Embassy of Hungary in Kuala Lumpur at Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur, will feature a Hungarian Gastronomy Days 2016 promotion until Dec 23.

The highlight of the fair were vendors with distinctly Hungarian products, many were family-run and flown in specifically for the event.

Hungarian Ambassador to Malaysia Attila Kali said he hoped the fair would raise awareness about Hungary to Malaysians.

“The vendors brought in a mix of traditional and modern but all uniquely Hungarian products.

This makes the products more relevant to a wider range of audience,” he said at the launch of the fair at the Malaysia Tourism Centre (Matic) in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

Romani fashioned dresses being showcased during the fashion show.
Romani fashioned dresses being showcased during the fashion show.

“We feel that these products and what Hungary can offer can be exciting and interesting to the Malaysian public.”

Kali added the embassy hoped to make the fair a regular event in future.

“We will continue to try and bring more about who we are and what we represent not necessarily in the same format but with different elements including art and music.

“We are planning to be more present in the cultural scene in Malaysia,” he said.

Tourism and Culture Ministry International Relations Division undersecretary Dr Nor Arlinda Mohamed Khalid, in delivering a speech on behalf of Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, said Hungary was one of Malaysia’s potential markets for tourism industry growth in terms of tourist arrivals as well as tourism receipts.

“In 2015, the Hungarian tourist arrivals to Malaysia was recorded at 9,051, a growth of 22.2% as compared to 7,409 recorded in the previous year.

“As of August, there have been 6,835 Hungarian tourists to Malaysia, a growth of 11.7% compared to last year and is projected to see an increase in the tourist pattern for this year.

“In this respect, Malaysia would like to strengthen the joint promotion and marketing efforts with Hungary via consumer fairs, travel agencies or airlines to boost tourist arrivals in both countries.

“These programmes serve as a platform for both countries to explore opportunities and to further enhance tourism cooperation and cultural ties.

“In this regard, we are honoured to host the Hungarian fair to celebrate the friendship between the two countries,” she said.

From intricately made accessories to handmade, mouth-blown stemware as well as one-of-a-kind food and beverage selections, each of the vendors represented were part of the Hungaricum collection.

(Above and left) Handmade chain and bangle sets from Zema Jewels which specialises in porcelain jewellery.
Handmade chain and bangle sets from Zema Jewels which specialises in porcelain jewellery.

Hungaricum – from combination of the words Hungary or Hungaria and unikum meaning unique in Hungarian – refers to a collective term denoting special items from Hungary, that characterise the Hungarians by their uniqueness and high quality.

Drawing attention for its exquisite detail work was lace-maker Bobbin Lace from Hungary.

Bobbin Lace from Hungary volunteer Gabriella Nagy said the family tradition of bobbin-lace making was revived after her grandmother’s death.

“The technique originated from Italy and was adapted by Hungarian women during World War I and World War II to make an income.

“We realised that we had lost the art of the bobbin-lace technique and attempted to recreate it. We wanted to introduce lace to the 21st century and spread the art of lace-making,” she explained.

She added with bobbin lace, the pattern was pinned to a pillow and small bobbins were used for the thread.

(Above) Ties inspired by Romani fashion on display during the Hungarian Fair 2016 which runs until Dec 23.
Ties inspired by Romani fashion on display during the Hungarian Fair 2016.

Another show-stopper was the handmade accessories by Hungarian jewellery brand Zema. The brand specialises in porcelain jewellery decorated with 21 carat gold and 23 carat platinum.

Zema trading strategist Zsofia Papp said that the brand was a family-run business that started 13 years ago by her mother, Erzsebet Papp.

Also present during the launch were Minister of State, from the Hungarian Agriculture Ministry Andrea Gulyas and Foreign Affairs Ministry and Trade of Hungary deputy state secretary Szilveszter Bus.

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