Identity Crisis in Hungary – oh s**t, we might be Asian

Some bones were dug up of a major Hungarian king recently and put through rigorous DNA testing. At which point the discovery was made that Hungarians might not be, as previously purported, Finno-Ugric, but – Shock! Horror! – Asian. Personally, I’ve always worked off the premise that my Hungarian heritage gave me roots in Mongolia, but then my Hungarian side is Jewish, so we most likely came from the opposite end with some twists and turns no one really remembers. Unless someone in my family tree hooked up with a “proper” Hungarian. Which would be great. I like having this Mongolian side in my family tree.

This is, of course, extremely important, because due to the language shared with our Finnish brethren up North, this gave Hungarians a veneer of respectability. The fact that our Finnish brethren came from the same place, too, but decided to travel to the land where, according to subsequent legends abroad, polar bears roamed the streets when we all came to the fork in the road, and the fact that some Finns look extremely Asian (Mongolian) is insignificant. They live up North, therefore they are white, pure, tall, and Aryan (never mind that the average Finn tends to be somewhat short, stocky with short fingers and prominent cheeks. The height comes from whoever various ancestors decided to mate with).

Hungarians, forever resourceful when it concerns them, have come up with a counter plan to this ignominy. Which goes something like this:

1. We didn’t migrate into the Carpathian Basin, we rode East from it into the steppes (those very ones we were said to originate from) to bring them culture and civilization. Hugely popular with the Nazi crowd.

2. This is all propaganda, created to weaken our spirit. Again, popular with the Nazi crowd but also pretty much anyone else. Hungary is (like) a 4-star hotel, forever aspiring to seven, living in mortal fear (and knowing full well) that this will never happen, yet simultaneously equally deathly afraid of slipping down into three, because that would be an abomination. The wrong color skin or heritage would see Hungary slide into 1-star territory. In the great nation’s estimation.

3. At least we are the oldest European nation. A popular thought to comfort oneself, because age means wisdom (as opposed to senility).

And there you have it, boys and girls. The answer to the unasked question of, “where are we really from,” which in true Hungarian fashion will never be answered but always speculated about. Hungary is your senile grandfather muttering away to himself at the dinner table while imbibing the Sunday roast (for since Uncle Zoli has no more teeth, so is forced to have everything put through the blender). It’s not xenophobia, merely senility.

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