Christmas is the season to be jolly as it is when the Christian communities all around the globe celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Though the center of the celebration is constant, how the season is celebrated differs from tradition to tradition and from country to country.
Photo Credit: http://www.gellertfurdo.hu/
Christmas in Budapest, Hungary is an old-style household festivity when each member of the family get together to rejoice the birth of Jesus Christ. On this event, family members do the usual giving and taking of gifts, a symbol of love and appreciation. The magic of the night burns bright. Christmas markets where one can find all sorts of handicrafts, traditional Hungarian food and native handmade Christmas decors are more than alive. Hungarians mark Christmas as a unique and extraordinary time to spend with family and friends.
Hungarian Christmas begins with celebrating the Advent on the fourth Sunday before the actual Christmas day on December 25. By that time, the people of Hungary have already started designing their front yards with advent wreaths. For each of the four Sundays before Christmas, they light a candle on the wreath. The last candle is lit on Christmas Eve, or on the night the Hungarians call the Szenteste. In some areas of Hungary, a traditional fish soup specialty is obliged at the Christmas Eve dinner table.
Jézuska or Kisjézus, what is to the Hungarians the Baby Jesus, has always been believed to come in the late afternoon of Christmas Eve to bring blessings and offerings. The most exciting moment of the season will come on the Christmas Day proper when the all the candles on the wreath have finally been lit, when easygoing Christmas melodies ring music to everyone’s ears, when masses are heard for the birth of the Szenteste, and when the unraveling of gifts commence.
Hungarians give so much value to their tradition that every Christmas season, they practice the same routine, visit the same places with their loved ones, enjoy the same concert, and prepare the same food as they did the previous year.
Here are some of those traditions that you ought to try:
- Go to one of the Budapest’s Christmas markets. While strolling the streets of the festive markets, you will find an array of must-have handmade old-style Hungarian craft. On the same venue are food stalls that offer traditional Hungarian delicacies like the freshly grilled sweet Chimney cake that you shouldn’t dare miss.
- Visit religious museums such as Budapest Museums, The National Gallery, the Statue Park, The National Museum, Buda Castle Labyrinth and Matthias Church.
- Attend the December 24th classical music concert which features Hungarian musicians held at St. Michael’s Church and at some of the local Budapest churches.
- Enjoy your night having a spa at Rudas Baths.
- Amaze yourself with the view of the whole of Budapest at the Buda Hills.
- Experience the internationally acclaimed Nutcracker Ballet at the Budapest Opera Community.
- Observe the seasonal presentation of the play called “Playing Bethlehem”.
For the entire month of December, Hungarian skies light up with love and faith for the long awaited and much anticipated season of the year.
Article Credit Marequitta Dequito