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Photo Gallery

Welcome to the photo gallery, a continually updated collection of photo contest entries and our personal and visitor photographs.

Come and see the thousand faces of Hungary and the Hungarian culture

Customs and Celebrations

Labor Day Celebration Tiszakecske 2007

Setting up the Maypole, Labor Day Celebration 2007, Tiszakecske, Hungary
May 1st, 2007 was a bit windy in Tiszakecske, but this did not deter the celebration-ready crowd from enjoying family fun and merriment. Keeping with established tradition, the local art groups entertained the guests with dazzling performances. Competition dancers, folk dance groups, and modern dance performers took center stage one after the other, and the local zither band enchanted the audience with a concert/jam session that was indeed music to the ears.

Easter Monday

Traditional “Dousing Monday” in Hungary
Easter Monday
, Wet Monday, or “Dousing Monday”, the second day of Easter is a day of youth and joy for life. “Easter sprinkling”, a tradition that lives on to this day in Hungary, is based on the belief in the cleansing power of water, and it is connected to a fertility rite. Easter Monday is also called “Dousing Monday”, because the young men used to go around the village and drench the girls with buckets of water freshly drawn from the well.

January 6. Epiphany

Epiphany, Schola Hungarica, Gregorian Chants, CD cover
Most Hungarians associate January 6 with a quite new custom – taking down the Christmas tree decorated on December 24. However, the customs of this day root much deeper. January 6 not only ends the Christmastide on this, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, but it also marks the beginning of the carnival season.

December 6. Nicholas’s Day

Hungarian chocolate Santa, Saint Nicholas, Mikulás, birch stick, virgács
In the Hungarian Christmas lore it is Saint Nicholas who comes bearing gifts for children on December 6, his name’s day. The Nicholas-day tradition is built on the story of a bishop from Asia Minor who lived in the 4th century, and who is said to have performed many miracles.

December 13. St. Lucy's Day

Lucy’s stool, Luca chair, lucaszék, Hungarian folklore
Named after the Christian virgin, St. Lucy's day (Lucia or Luca’s day - luca napja) is one of the richest in customs and superstitions. Before the Gregorian calendar reform, it was the shortest and darkest day of the year, and it marked the beginning of the winter solstice. It is for this reason that numerous traditions and magic fertility games are linked to Lucy’s Day.

December 21. Thomas’s Day

Pig killing feast, Tanyacsárda, Lajosmizse, Hungary
December 21, Thomas’ day was the traditional day for pig killing as well. In a sense, with the pig killing and the feast that followed, people symbolically put an end to the year that passed. ...And from the savory sight of the feast, they already started celebrating the new year ahead of them. :)

December 25. Christmas

Bethlehem Shepherd's Play, Dunaujvaros, Hungary
In Hungary and in Hungarian communities worldwide, a key element of celebrating Christmas is a traditional custom, the Bethlehem Shepherd’s play. The present-day version of the Bethlehem folk play originates from the 19th-20th century, although it may date back as far as the medieval times. The players called “Betlehemesek” go from house to house, dressed as Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds, and the Three Kings, narrating scenes about the birth of Christ.

December 28. Childermas

In Hungary, the Feast of the Holy Innocents falls on the same day with the traditional "birching", a fertility custom known almost everywhere in Europe.

December 31. New Year’s Eve

The 31st of December has been the last day of the year only since the 17th century
. In Hungary, New Year’s Eve is called Szilveszter, after Pope Sylvester I (314-335).