Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter in countryside Hungary

People have been quite religious in countryside-Hungary which means Roman Catholic in this case. I always liked Easter because we spent it in my Mom`s village and somehow thanks to all the countryside-traditions it always seemed like a much more mystical tradition to me than just a simple religious holiday. My Mom`s village is called Szany and it is located in West-Hungary.

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:

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

1. scone
2. boiled eggs
3. ham
4. horseradish sauce for ham

Photo Source:

Photo source:

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

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Photo source:


  1. This is a beautiful post, loved it !
    It has taken me to the good old days when people in my native place observed the religious rituals during holy week and celebrated Easter. With the pressures of modern day living it has become difficult for people to do such things in an elaborate manner but I agree with you, we have to add little more prayers. The celebration aspects are being given more importance now-a-days.
    Nice picture; nice deers :)
    Easter eggs are cute :). I have recommended this wonderful post on Google plus and shared through twitter.

    1. Thank you, i am glad you liked the post. These are precious memories to me, because I liked those people a lot. They lived in integrity and knew their place in the world. With all respect to them and to the past i like Easter for its universal message not for the strictly religious one. I would not necessarily say that we need more prayers, everyone has his own way to find the way back to himself and to the world. It is simply good to remember the past and try to have rituals whatever those rituals might be. At least this is my own interpretation of these memories :).

      Thank you for recommending this post and sharing it on twitter!

    2. You are welcome !
      I felt the good intentions and feelings you tried to convey through this awesome post so I commented. This post of your's was the first that I saw with pictures and mention of Easter eggs this season :). Good that you shared this precious memory with us and by posting it on the blog it will remain forever in the minds of everyone for long, long times to come !

  2. I so enjoyed reading about these beautiful traditions. It was a gentler time, and faith was strong then. I remember Easter in those days in the small Church community I grew up in. Fasting, Lent, everything was strictly observed. I miss all of that in today's world, and I am sure the children feel the lack, even if they dont know they do. Thanks for this post. I loved reading it and I enjoyed the photos.

    1. Dear Sherry, i am glad you liked the post.

      I also miss those times, I am not sure if it was those times or the people which made them so special. I think it was those particular people living in the context of that village, but may be all of us have "those people" in our memories in our own families.

      Speaking about the people i wrote about: religion was part of their social-environment, but they were much more as as only their religion. I just feel like telling it, because as i wrote to me Easter was always a celebration where the faith of my Mom`s family, spring and folk traditions made this magical mixture and i could more feel it than understand it rationally.

      I am not sure if today`s world is more inhuman or not, but i think so that people who want to have a meaningful life have the chance to do so also now (whatever meaningful might mean).I am positive about it that if children feel the lack of sg even if they don`t know yet, they will find a way to fill this gap. It can be that they will find a meaning through art, or travelling, or love, or nature, or friendship, or family, or through some religion- luckily there are many ways to get there.

      Thank you for your kind comment once more!

  3. Wonderful post and beautiful photos. :)