Easter Traditions of Hungary
Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday (in Hungarian Húsvét), is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
It feels like yesterday that we just opened up our presents under the Christmas Tree, yet this weekend is already Easter-time.
I tried to collect together some fun Hungarian traditions, what we still do around this time in our home-country.
1. Easter Tree (Húsvétfa)
In Hungary, it’s customary to celebrate Easter by hanging hollow eggs from the branches of trees. This year, bring the tradition indoors by creating a unique display for your blown and decorated eggs. An Easter Tree is a gorgeous centerpiece for a spring nature table in the weeks before Easter. It is also the perfect decoration to place on the dining table for Easter brunch. Our family has come to come to cherish our Easter tree tradition and look forward to decorating our Easter egg tree as a family every year.
2. Easter Egg Decoration (Tojásfestés)
One of the most famous Easter tradition, which also means great family time. Hungary is famous for it’s very delicately decorated red Easter eggs, which unfortunately now it’s really hard to find. It’s a really fun thing to do when everyone gets involved. You don’t have to be the most creative one, you can get pre-maid stickers and you just have to stick them on. I remember from my childhood clearly, after we decorated them with my mom and my grandma, we’ve kept only half of them, to give them as gifts for the male-side of the family, and the other half they hid from me and the other kids in the garden, so we could go on an egg-hunt, and have a little completion who could find the most.
3. Sprinkling (Locsolkodás)
Probably for foreigners the strangest Easter tradition. Ever. Originally, on Easter Monday all the men of the family, from young kids to great grandpas leave the house early morning, and visit all the ladies in the neighborhood and family. Nowadays is more pleasant, than back in the days. Before, whenever the lady left the house, everyone surprised her with a big bucket of water. As a more gentle method, now only perfume used. In exchange the younger generation gets the Easter egg and older generation gets a shot of the famous Hungarian moonshine, the Pálinka. Definitely a fun and unique habit!
4. Easter Feast (Húsvéti Sonka)
Probably it’s not surprising, that my favorite part of Easter is The Food. I grew up in a gorgeous village very close to Budapest, called Sóskút. My family always liked to follow the traditions, with Easter there was no difference. The preparation starts in the cold winter months with pig slaughter. We butcher the meat, make sausages, smoke some other parts, and then there is the ham what eventually we will serve on Easter. It’s a very long process, but worth every step, starting with marinating the meat with salt and authentic spices for 6 weeks. Once that’s done, there comes the cold smoke. After that step, the ham is ready to be cooked at Easter- time with some eggs and potato, boiling together in the same water, to get that overall smokey flavor.
This Easter Sunday (April 1.) we would like to invite you for a traditional Easter Brunch at Herbert’s Bakery & Bistro! We will serve the above mentioned Ham with my signature Egg Salad, Homemade Baked Potato, Fresh Green Onions and Fresh Radish. Definitely stop by for an unforgettable tastebud- experience, where everything is “Just Like My Grandma Used To Make It”!