Easter in Hungary is celebrated with folk traditions and festivals that mark this springtime holiday. Visitors to Budapest can take part in the Spring Festival, which precedes or coincides with Easter every year. This two-week long event celebrates the season with concerts, performances, classes, and an annual market. Villages throughout Hungary will celebrate according to their own traditions and may host official Easter festivals.
Easter Traditions in Hungary
One Hungarian Easter tradition is “sprinkling” which can take the form of dousing another person with water (usually a woman) or sprinkling her hair with perfume. This ritual is associated with fertility and cleansing rites left over from pagan times.
Similar to sprinkling, "whipping" can also take place. Traditionally, boys whacked girls with switches in recollection of another fertility ritual.
The modern tradition of the Easter bunny has made it to Hungary. Many children participate in an Easter egg hunt and receive Easter baskets brought by the Easter bunny.
Easter-related celebrations take place for more than a week in Hungary. Palm Sunday is called “Flower Sunday” in Hungary. Good Friday is a day for housecleaning and decorating eggs. On Easter Saturday, Easter baskets are taken to church and blessed. On Easter Sunday, the Lenten fast is broken with meat dishes. Sprinkling or dousing takes place on Easter Monday, also a holiday in Hungary.
Easter Eggs from Hungary
Easter egg decorating is one old tradition that Hungarians still participate in. During this time, find eggs decorated with Hungarian motifs, including those that mimic Hungarian embroidery in colorful floral designs. Simple, homemade eggs may bear the imprint of a leaf that was secured to it during the dying process. Dark red Easter eggs, sometimes with a white design, recall the spilling of Christ's blood. The most difficult to decorate Easter eggs in Hungary is with small metal horseshoes, requiring expertise by the egg decorator, whose hands must be steady and agility advanced enough so as not to break the eggshell when affixing the horseshoe onto the blown egg.
The Hungarian Easter meal is made hearty with the inclusion of eggs and ham.Horseradish is also an important part of the Hungarian meal. A braided loaf of bread will also be included on the holiday table. This holiday bread forms a circle and may also be a part of other seasonal feasts, such as at Christmas.
Some of these eggs will appear in ceramic or wooden form, though real eggshells decorating using traditional patterns and techniques may also be found.
Easter in Budapest
If you're traveling to Hungary during Easter, check out what other events are on for Budapest in March or Budapest in April. These guides also offer information about average weather conditions in Budapest and make suggestions for what to pack so you can enjoy your Easter-season travel to its fullest. For example, the annual Easter market on Vorosmarty Square is an excellent venue for finding handmade crafts and seasonal decorations--you can even talk to the artists responsible for making the items for sale. Another Easter market pops up at the Museum of Ethnography. A series of events is also organized for the annual Easter at Buda Castle event.
However, you don't have to limit yourself to Budapest to seek out Hungarian traditions for this special time of year. Certain villages in Hungary are known for their Easter celebrations, including Mezőkövesd, famous for its Matyo folk art.