Despite living in the 21st century, the very mention of the word ‘curse’ sends chill through our spine and our blood goes cold. Could it be true? What really happened? What followed? These are the typical questions that we start pondering over. There is absolutely no way to verify these curses and many logical thinkers end up arguing against the authenticity of the curse in question. We have seen this time and again in case of Tamerlane’s Curse, Curse of Ötzi, Hope Diamond Curse and more. Today we are here to discuss yet another – The Curse of Turan, aka The Curse of Turáni átok.
1. There are several versions of the curse but the most popular version states that in AD 1000, King Stephen took a dramatic step of converting whole of Hungary into Christianity. While some accepted it in fear of dire consequence, those who had strong faith in old Hungarian religion could not really accept this forced change and cast a malicious spell that was supposed to last forever or at least for a thousand years.
2. The other less popular version of the curse states that it originated during the 1850’s after the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 failed. The curse, according to this second version was symbolic to the decade of repression and overwhelming pessimism.
3. The third version of the curse is related to King Stephen. According to stories and folklores, after King Geza died, the rightful owner of the throne was Koppány (a Hungarian nobleman) as per the ancient laws of Hungary. King Stephen wanted the throne and murdered Koppány to ascend the throne, resulting in the curse which stated, “Let there be discord amongst the Hungarians, until someone makes up for this ancient mistake.” It was King Stephen who was responsible for bringing discord among Hungarians for the first time and the curse followed.
4. Hungarians believe that The Curse of Turan manifests itself in several ways. For some, it comes in form of pessimism and inner strife. For others, the curse brings misfortune. Some people often associate it with national level historic catastrophes.
5. As far as personal sufferings, inner strife and pessimism are concerned, people believe that the curse was the reason for high suicide rates of Hungary. In 1980s Hungary topped the list of countries with highest rates of suicide. Currently Hungary stands 6th on the ladder.
6. For ages, the curse has been associated with national level catastrophes. These catastrophes date far back to 1200 AD, signifying that the first version of the curse is more widely accepted and has been associated with all sufferings that the nation faced.
7. Hungary faced a devastating loss after the Mongols invaded the nation in 1241 AD and Hungary lost in the Battle of Mohi. The population of Hungary was severely depleted and people started pointing fingers to The Curse of Turan.
8. The next great disaster was in 1526 and this time was an invasion by the Turks. Hungary lost in Battle of Mohács. This battle established the Ottoman rule in Hungary’s central parts which lasted for 150 years till 1686.
9. The end of Ottoman rule in Hungary did not really end the sufferings for Hungarians and in 1699; sovereignty was transferred to the Hapsburgian Austrian Empire from the Ottoman Empire.
10. The next terrible fate for the Hungarians was waiting in form of 1848 Revolution. In the bloody aftermath, the Russian and the Habsburg forces started a regime of inexplicable repression that lasted for 15 years.
11. As if that wasn’t enough, the year 1919 saw Hungarian Revolution followed by Hungarian-Romanian war, both of which did not end well for Hungary.
12. Following the 1919’s bloody events was the Treaty of Trianon of 1920, which was all about redefining the borders after World War I. Hungary was once again at a loss and the nation lost 72% of its territory.
13. Following the Treaty of Trianon was Hungary’s alliance with Axis Power in World War II between 1939 and 1945. Defeat of Nazi Germany did not end well for Hungary and she lost more than 600,000 civilians and 300,000 soldiers.
14. Then in 1956 there was another Hungarian Revolution and the Soviet military power was too much for them to digest. The revolution was crushed. 2,500 Hungarians died and over 200,000 fled, resulting in mass exodus.
15. The question is, “who was the person to spell this curse?” According to legends, the curse was cast by a shaman who was born with 6 fingers. People believed that his six fingers gave him psychic powers. This shaman story is related to the first and most popular version of The Curse of Turan.
AD 1000 to AD 2000 – 1000 years have passed and Hungarians have spent 14 peaceful years. Is the curse lifted? No one knows because the shaman said that the curse will last forever or at least 1000 years. 1000 years are over but ‘forever’ will never be over. If something wrong happens again, people will be quick enough to blame it on the curse. We have to wait and see!
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