Organized for the 21st time, Budapest Advent and Christmas Fair credits its “rejuvenation” to new ideas being added to its concept.
The annual Budapest Advent and Christmas Fair has changed: there are less wooden booths, weekly changing gastronomic themes were introduced, and the Vörösmarty statue is shining in its well-deserved glory despite the fact that at this time of the year it is always covered to be protected against the cold. Some things never change though: chimney cake and mulled wine’s irresistible smell still lingers around.
Between 8 November and 1 January artisan products, colourful stage programs and a calmer than ever ambience is awaiting visitors at Vörösmarty tér, Fővám tér and Deák tér. The very first Christmas fair opened 21 years ago and since then it counted hundreds of thousands of customers from around the world who were drawn in by the festive atmosphere and the delicious smells immediately. The event series gives locals and visitors the chance to leave stressful thoughts behind and get a taste of Christmas with something delicious in one hand and a nice goodie in the other. Since the importance of supporting traditional Hungarian products is the essence of the occasion, the Vörösmarty statue is surrounded by small wooden booths where bag and jewellery designers, ceramic artists, leatherware makers and glass crafters put their most exquisite products on display.
Traditional Christmas foods are represented in the form of artisan chocolate, gingerbread, flódni (Hungarian Jewish cake) and herb-based products. In front of the Gerbeaud House, which is just another central spot within the fair, people can find shelter from the cold winter temperature in a heated hutte. And as there’s no fair without music, until the end of September (From 5 to 8 PM on weekdays and from 11 AM at weekends) no day will go by without special performances put together in the spirit of the holidays. Expect A Capella Christmas songs, jazz and rock music, choir works, musicals and classic Hungarian hits. The list of programs is available here.
The fair wouldn’t be the same without its versatile drink and food offers that will change thematically during the 7 weeks of the event series. After Saint Martin Day’s traditional meals, wild game meat and then stuffed cabbage is scheduled to impress our taste buds, accompanied by the best wines from Somló. Between 2 and 8 December everything will revolve around fish, inspiring us to think about what we will put on the table when Christmas comes to town. Then, from 9 to 26 December classic festive meals, and from 27 to 31 December, New Year’s Eve pork dishes will steal the spotlight. The gastronomic palette will become complete with traditional Jewish foods at the end of the month, in the spirit of Hanukkah.
The event was co-organized by the General Assembly of Budapest and the Budapest Festival and Tourism Centre whose aim was to add new twists to the fair’s concept by emphasizing the importance of community spaces and giving a more laid-back feel to the open-air event’s ambience. Lessening the number of stands that are now placed further from each other was also a necessary step in order to make the space less crowded around the food booths. This way navigating between the stands got also much easier.
Being one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the world, the Budapest Advent and Christmas Fair has become one of the must-see events in the city during the holiday season. If you are lucky enough to spend the most wonderful time of the year in Budapest, go check it out, it is definitely bucket list worthy!