Easter folk customs in Hungary

There are a lot of interesting folk customs still alive all over Hungary. Many of them are connected with religious holidays, while others have older origins, from early, sometimes from prehistoric years.

The two, most known customs of Easter are the “sprinkling” and the egg-painting. Both are very common in both urban and rural areas, among people of every age-group. Today women wear casual dresses for sprinkling, not folk costumes. Also, men sprinkle with cologne, not with water. A couple of decades ago men poured water on women in rural areas and women changed their clothes after each sprinkling. Boys often dragged girls to the well and poured water on them with pail. Sometimes they washed them in creek. The possible reason for this very old tradition is that people believed in the cleaning, healing and fertility effect of water.

Easter is a 2-day holiday in Hungary. On Monday boys and men visit all of their women relatives, friends, neighbors, often even if they are not close friends. Boys in small groups, fathers with their sons, or single men leave early in the morning and their “tour” last all day long. They greet girls and women with shorter – longer poems (mostly with a funny poem about “Eastern sprinkling”) and sprinkle them with cologne.

Women must be well-prepared, they treat men with dessert and beverages – and with hand-painted eggs. Women usually prepare in the previous days by cleaning up the house thoroughly, decorating, cooking and painting a couple dozen eggs.

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