Easter in Hungary: Tradition & Gastronomy

Interesting folk traditions, delicious meals and a lot of funny childhood memories come to our mind as we start preparing for Easter. Are you curious about Hungarian Easter customs? Let’s get down to business before baking and egg decorating occupies all our time!

If you spend Easter in Hungary, there are a few useful things you should know. Good Friday (30 March) Easter Sunday (1 April), and Easter Monday (2 April) are public holidays when most shops are closed. So, you better purchase all the ingredients, chocolate bunnies and eggs in time. Also, don’t be surprised to see elegantly dressed dad & son pairs or teen hordes on Easter Monday, because they are on an important Easter mission.

Regardless of age, men give their all, dress to impress and learn a funny, short “locsoló” (sprinkling) verse for the big day. According to the custom called “locsolkodás”, boys visit their female relatives, friends and neighbours and sprinkle them with a floral cologne (as if they were flowers, so their beauty won’t fade away). In return, they are welcome to sit down at a table full of festive delicacies and then get flowered with gifts: nicely decorated Easter eggs, chocolate (milk, dark, gluten-free, paleo, etc.), and often money too! For the guys this day is definitely like a second Christmas…

The Easter Menu

What’s on the table full of mouth-watering Easter specialties? Let’s start with the cold dish section: deviled eggs. Boil a few eggs, peel the shells carefully then slice them in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks, mix them with mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper and a hint of vinegar. Finally, disperse the mixture evenly into the egg whites. It’s so yummy! Another thing that won’t be missing from the festive table is slow cooked smoked ham with horseradish. We love braided milk-loaf, seasonal veggie soups, salads, cakes (carrot cake, bundt cake, muffins, and scone) as well as meat dishes. Roasted lamb, meat loaf, pork or poultry? It varies from house to house. And after the festive banquet, we clink glasses with none other than our signature fruit brandy, pálinka.

Fun Facts

Hungarian kids are visited by the Easter Bunny, and parents often organize an egg hunt for them in a park or their own garden. Szeged Zoo (Southern Hungary) created tradition with its annual egg hunt event which attracts hundreds of children each year. A question is written on all eggs, and the one who can give a correct answer gets a gift.

A few decades ago men poured water on women dressed in folk costumes. Fortunately, this nice tradition still lives on in some rural areas, and if you are interested, you can witness the real deal in several towns around the country. Easter Festival in Hollókő is a must-see, for instance.

As a funny alternative for colognes, some men bring a soda siphon, but it also happens that a firefighter truck is “ordered” to the ladies’ house. We guess you can imagine what happens when a firefighter truck pulls by your house on Easter…

How to pimp those Easter eggs? Several shops stock up with different colours of egg dye and festive stickers. If you want to go creative, stick fallen leaves on an egg, cover it with stockings so the leaf won’t move, and put it all into a hot bowl of egg dye. Leave it in for a few minutes, and when you take it out, the leaf pattern will beautifully stay on the egg. (Go for a natural approach, and use red onion’s dry skin for egg dying!) Or use glitter, and be creative!

Europe’s best egg decorator is Hungarian. Her name is Kati Zsigóné, and this year, she praised the world with a new masterpiece that she worked on for a whole year. She used 11 different techniques on an ostrich egg which is now decorated with motifs and pictures of the most   important milestones of Hungarian history.