Hungarian names consist of a surname followed by a given name. Some Asian countries hold the same custom.
Hungarians celebrate birthdays, as well as so-called name days. Every given name is linked to a specific date in the calendar: these originate from historical or religious traditions. Name days are smaller celebrations than birthdays, but it is customary to gift flowers or small presents. This tradition is also observed by the Czech and Slovakian peoples, as well as the Russians and Romanians, and some Scandinavian or Baltic countries.
The first Hungarian word you will come to learn will most likely be “egészségedre”. This word is used to cheer before drinking alcohol, but is also a common refrain following a sneeze.
Hungarians love offer a meal and drinks to their guests, even those who come unexpected. You can try but you most likely won’t get away from trying the famous national spirit of Hungarians, the pálinka, which is a strong brandy made of fruits.
One of the most colourful Hungarian folk traditions is the custom of Easter. At Easter, girls paint or dye eggs and prepare traditional festive dishes. On Easter Monday, they dress up in festive attire and wait for the boys to visit them and sprinkle them with water or some perfume. Nowadays, this tradition is only celebrated in the countryside, but if you are interested in being part of a traditional Easter celebration, make sure to visit Hollókő. This lovely old village was preserved in its old-world charm, and on Easter, locals always wear their colourful, traditional clothing, welcoming visitors to celebrate together.
In many countries, people celebrate the end of cold and grey winter days with a series of carnival celebrations. In the Southern region of Hungary, in the town of Mohács, people celebrate the carnivals in a unique, traditional way. This is the popular Busó Walking. This celebration features a parade where people wear unique wooden masks and dress up in flamboyant, traditional costumes.
Before Christmas celebrations, Mikulás (Saint Nicholas) arrives every year at the beginning of December to give small gifts to children.
Hungarian households traditionally prepare gingerbread before Christmas, the scent of cinnamon and cloves wafts through the air. Traditional gingerbread making is masterful work: some of the decorations resemble elements of Hungarian folk motifs.