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As Easter arrives early this year it’s pretty certain that beautiful Hungarian ladies will shudder with cold during what can be roughly translated as “sprinkling”. But what is sprinkling? A rather cheeky and even slightly creepy Hungarian Easter tradition, that’s what. It’s one of several interesting ones we’ve decided to share here.
Hungarian Easter Traditions: ’Sprinkle-Sprinkle’ Little Star…
Sprinkling is a Hungarian Easter tradition that sounds a bit rough, if not downright rude. If we consider the ancient pagan rituals from which the practice originates, it’s more understandable. “Sprinkling”, basically dousing women with water (especially younger ones) is associated with fertility and cleansing rites and the celebration of the vernal equinox. Fortunately more recently, the more gentlemanly version of this tradition is to young ladies and women’s hair with perfume.
A similar and even more barbaric fertility ritual is “whipping” when boys traditionally whacked girls with switches in the spirit of another fertility and cleansing rite.
Hungarian Easter Traditions: Intricate Eggs
The intricate decorating of Easter eggs is an old Hungarian tradition. Making light patterns on dark red painted eggs are probably the most common design and such patterns are usually imprints of leaves or herbs. The alternative is to draw very detailed motifs and ornaments on the eggshells with warm wax and then to place the eggs into a dye. After carefully removing the wax the intricate pattern remains. The most difficult and unique method of decorating Easter eggs in Hungary is with tiny metal horseshoes, and/or by removing parts of the shell and making a lace-like patterns. This intricate work requires the expertise of an experienced egg decorator.
Hungarian Easter Traditions: Hearty Flavours on the Easter Dinner Table
Paprika sausages, cooked ham, hardboiled eggs, milk loaf kalács and horseradish are probably the most common meals on the typical Hungarian Easter dinner table. The sweet-toothed are well catered for too. There are plenty of different desserts such as bejgli or zserbó (layered walnut and jam filled sponge cake covered with dark chocolate).
Easter Events in Hungary
Easter is very much a family and friends holiday in Hungary, but rich folk traditions mean that there are still plenty of public events to attend, including at Buda Castle, the Spring Festival, and Spring Fair on Vörösmarty and Erzsébet squares and folk events at Hollókő (the website is in Hungarian) and Mezőkövesd, where you can see the famous and colourful Matyó folk art.