It was very interesting that people in the countryside were really fasting (not like today when even religious people fast at most for dieting reasons) and preparing for Easter Sunday. Everything slowed down, adults did not eat meat on the strict fast days and were allowed to eat only three-times a day and "rejoice in food" only once.
The real Easter started on Good Friday at three o`clock when according to the Bible Christ died after being crucified. As a child I could feel that everything got more silent around us and people got more meditative. It was nice that I could feel that those people really believed what they preached and they were thinking about the message of Easter not only in religious but also in more universal terms.
The next big step was the Easter procession when people walked around the church Saturday evening holding candles in their hands singing and praying. I liked the candles as a child a lot, and the atmosphere was really festive. I liked the procession also because everyone knew everyone and I could hear my family and their friends gossiping about the people we saw- i heard about divorces, drinking problems etc before i even knew what it really was.
|The forest in my Mom`s village. Photographer: Bongyi, Photo source: http://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/medium/58182498.jpg|
Many people say that Easter was established by the church to replace Spring Equinox and i think that even the Catholic Easter procession with its candles had an extra symbolic meaning which was light winning over darkness and life winning over death.
People in the village lived very close to nature. Even those who had other professions than being a farmer and had university degrees knew a lot about animals, plants, herbs and farming. For them Easter was not only a religious holiday, but also the celebration of real spring and the awakening of nature.
On Easter Sunday people brought the traditional Easter breakfast to the church and the food was blessed there by the priest. It was a bit funny as a child, because some over-religious people said things like that you should watch out that the crumbs are not falling to the ground because it is blessed food and so.
Anyways i liked Easter-breakfast a lot, because i could drink really good hot chocolate made of raw milk at my Mom´s aunts place and eat scone, boiled eggs, and homemade smoked ham to it.
The traditional Hungarian Easter-breakfast consists of
2. boiled eggs
4. horseradish sauce for ham
|Photo Source: http://alfahir.hu/sites/barikad.hu/files/2011/04/hagymas_fonott_husveti_kalacs_.jpg|
|Photo source: http://www.minalunk.hu/leadkepek/eredetilead11364.jpg|
We had all these traditions, but I would say that religion was the context and frame to everything and the essence came through the folk traditions of countryside Hungary.The combination of religious habits and folk tradition manifested in this celebration which lasted for three days displaying emotions from lethargy/sorrow through hope and joy at the end. May be because of this deep spiritual atmosphere i always liked Easter more than Christmas, and now when those people from the village are gone the spirit of Easter stays the same for me even without doing all those rituals.
And sorry world, but the ice bucket challenge was invented in Hungary and was called "Watering Monday". It used to be a countryside tradition when "young farmhands were allowed to throw a bucket of cold water over girls of marriageable age". Even my Mum could experience this as a young girl.
The dress is a traditional dress typical for a certain region of Hungary. Nowadays no one really wears these, not even in the countryside but members of traditional dance groups or presenters at folklore museums. The generation of my grandparents living in the countryside still used to go to church in those traditional clothes when they were youngsters.
Decorated Easter eggs are also famous pieces of Hungarian folk art
|Photo source: http://m.cdn.blog.hu/sz/szinesotletek/image/toj%C3%A1sfest2.jpg|
|Photo source: http://m.cdn.blog.hu/sz/szinesotletek/image/tojasfest5.jpg|