Boldog új évet kívánunk mindenkinek! …or if you did not understand that, let’s say it in English – We wish everyone a happy new year! Also, we have collected a few Hungarian traditions and dishes we eat when the new year begins, it is always interesting to read about different nations’ traditions!
We eat all kinds of pork dishes when the new year begins. Pigs symbolize progress as they root themselves in the ground before pushing forward. Traditionally in Hungary eating pork on New Year’s Day brings you luck. We also have dishes with lentils or beans, because they symbolize wealth. Lentil soup or salad is a must have dish on New Year’s Day. After partying hard on the last night of the old year, eat korhely leves, a soup with cabbage, sausage and sour cream, it is good if you are hungover!
Let’s add a few unlucky dishes, too: Hungarians avoid eating chicken and fish on New Year’s Day, as chickens can ‘scratch’ away your luck and fish can swim away with your luck.
The traditions are mostly in connection with luck, love and weather predictions: Some of the oldest beliefs are that if you take out the trash on the first day of January you will also throw away your luck for the upcoming year, while if you decide to hang out freshly washed clothes to dry, you can expect death to approach your home. Another one: if anyone wants to borrow something, it’s better to turn them down, or funds and assets will flow away from your home all year long.
On the countryside farmers made ‘onion-calendars’. They cut an onion in half and peeled off 12 layers. The layers were arranged in order, they represented a month of the year. Then salt was sprinkled on each piece of onion and if the salt melted it meant a rainy month. They also say, avoid seeing a doctor on New Year’s Day and you will stay healthy all year. Unmarried girls always want to know who the love of their life will be, so let’s see how they were trying to predict this: they prepared 13 dumplings, stuffing 12 of them with small pieces of paper. There was a name of a potential fiancé on all pieces. The single girl would cook her dumplings at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and the first one that would come to the surface of the boiling water, was believed to contain the name of her future husband. What if the dumpling with no name in it would emerge to the top? Well, then the girl couldn’t expect a serious boy in the coming year.
Wishing you all the luck, love and good weather you want in 2019!
The Free Budapest Walking Tours Team