Hungary Culture 101 in Photos

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The National Flag of Hungary

Hungarian Flag blowing in wind

SilvanBachmann / Getty Images

The national flag of Hungary is a horizontal tricolor flag of red, white, and green. The red of Hungary's flag is said to stand for strength or bloodshed (in battle), the white for faithfulness or freedom, and the green for hope or the green fields of Hungary. This flag has been the national flag of Hungary since the middle of the 20th century, though these colors have been present in flags representing Hungary for centuries.

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Coat of Arms of Hungary

Hungarian Coat of Arms
Kerry Kubilius, licensed to

The Hungarian coat of arms, a shield design with stripes on the left (representing four rivers in Hungary) and the double cross on the right, is the modern coat of arms of Hungary. The coat of arms pictured, from 1908, shows the current coat of arms surrounded by the coats of arms of states that were under Hungarian rule at time and have been absorbed into present-day nations: Dalmatia, Croatia, Sclavonia, Transylvania, and Fiume.

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Hungarian Traditional Costume - Folk Dress of Hungary

Hungarian Folk Costumes
Kerry Kubilius, licensed to

Traditional Hungarian folk costumes are not as common as they once were, but they are still sometimes worn for weddings and festivals as well as for folk performances. Hungarian folk dress is colorful and richly embroidered. It may feature lace, sashes, boots, or embroidered shoes. Puffed sleeves characterize a woman's garment, while and a vest and long sleeves is worn as a part of male attire.

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Hungarian Embroidery - Folk Embroidery from Hungary

Hungary Embroidery
Jozsef Szoke © 2004

Hungary's tradition of embroidery dates back to the Middle Ages. Hungarian daughters learned to embroider at a very young age, and a family's wealth was often measured or determined by the number of embroidered cloths they had. While Hungarian embroidery decorates folk costumes, it can also be found on tablecloths, napkins, bed covers, and serving towels. Today you can pick up Hungarian embroidery as a souvenir, but some of the finest examples of Hungarian embroidery are heirloom items cherished by families.

Bold colors, floral patterns, and rich textures characterize embroidery from Hungary. Traditional designs that have been passed down from generation to generation identify national and regional heritage. Matyo is one of the most famous Hungarian embroidery styles.

Some wearable Hungarian embroidery pieces include blouses and shawls. The Great Market Hall is one place to find traditionally embroidered pieces.

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Wine Tradition in Hungary

Antique Hungarian Wine Press
Adam Havas © 2006

Regions like the Tokaj region in Hungary are famous for wine. Small wine crops produce wine that differs from wine produced elsewhere in Europe. Many wine enthusiasts take wine tours through Hungary, which are enjoyable both for the flavor of the wines and for the views of the Hungarian countryside. Some wines are still produced using historical techniques (consider, for example, Bull's Blood), which helps to give Hungarian wines their distinctive characteristics.

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Gourmet Paprika from Hungary

Hungarian Paprikas
Gábor Izsó © 2006

Paprika is a spice that comes from peppers. Some of the finest paprika is said to come from the Szeged region of Hungary. Hungarians take their paprika seriously - paprika purchased in Hungary ranges in several degrees from mild to hot and will be labeled appropriately. You might consider taking home Hungarian paprika as a souvenir or as a gift for someone else.

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Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian Goulash
Elke Dennis © 2006

Goulash is one national dish from Hungary that is commonly served in Hungarian homes and in traditional Hungarian restaurants. Goulash is basically a meat and potato stew but can also be made as a lighter soup. Paprika, onions, garlic, and pepper flavor the dish. In some goulashes, mutton and vegetables may be added. Order a bowl of goulash soup, a plate of pickles and a glass of Hungarian wine if you're in the mood for a tasty feast!

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Hungarian Viszla

Hungarian Viszla
Jolanta Stozek © 2007

The Hungarian viszla, or its ancestors, hunted for the tribal Magyars before Hungary became a state. Mention of the Hungarian viszla dates back to the 14th century, but they were certainly used as hunting dogs several centuries earlier.

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Folk Instruments from Hungary - Double Flute

Traditional Hungarian Flute
Jacques Croizer © 2005

Hungarian traditional folk instruments are many and varied. Hammered dulcimers, Hungarian bagpipes, drums, and violins, are traditionally part of a Hungarian folk band. This double flute or recorder was used in Transylvania and Transdanubia. These flutes were made by hand and carved with Hungarian folk motifs.

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Terror House Museum in Hungary - Hungary's Terror Haza

Terror House Museum Hungary
Scubabartek © 2007

The Terror House Museum is Hungary's monument and memorial to those in Hungary's past who perished under both Nazi and Communist rules. The Terror House was formerly the site of a prison where victims were beaten, tortured, and killed because of real or imagined opposition to government regimes.

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