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How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Hungarian

How to Say Merry Christmas in Hungarian

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Hungarian? HungarianPod101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of Hungarian Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native Hungarian speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, HungarianPod101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Hungarian!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Hungary
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How HungarianPod101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Hungary

Christmas Words in Hungarian

There is no doubt about it, the most significant holiday in Hungary is Christmas, or in Hungarian, karácsony. The holiday is awaited in anticipation by adults and children alike. Some get excited about the gift-giving, and others simply look forward to getting some rest after the intense holiday shopping. Let’s take a look at how Christmas is celebrated in Hungary.

Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?

What is the reason behind the Hungarian custom of eating fish at Christmas, instead of poultry?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep reading.

Unlike several other countries, in Hungary gifts are said to be brought not by Santa Claus, but by the baby Jesus, or Jézuska. December 24 is an official holiday, and on this day everybody is busy preparing for Christmas Eve. Many people rush to buy last-minute gifts, and every member of the family is engaged in preparing the Christmas dinner and the Christmas tree, in Hungarian called karácsonyfa.

After all the preparations are complete, families gather around the dinner table to start the formal Christmas dinner. Fish soup, called halászlé in Hungarian, fried fish, stuffed cabbage and bejgli, a rolled, glazed cake with poppy seed or chestnut filling, are some of the most common dishes. The highlight of the evening is the lighting of the Christmas tree, which announces the arrival of baby Jesus. Depending on the year, the following two days (December 25 and 26) can be official holidays, but even on years when they are not, most people take them off anyway. On Christmas Day, festivities are continued with enormous lunches and dinners, and on December 26th–also known as Boxing Day–people visit members of the family who live further away.

In the countryside, the old Christmas customs of putting on plays representing “Bethlehem”, or betlehemezés, and regölés, which means “to sing folk songs”, are kept alive. During Bethlehem plays, people dressed in appropriate costumes walk from home to home re-enacting the biblical story of the birth of baby Jesus with funny dialogue. In return, members of the visited household give gifts and entertain the actors. The custom of regölésis comprised of men, generally in groups of four, walking through the streets of the village making lots of noise by shaking sticks with chains and blowing bagpipes and recorders. They wish for an abundant harvest and good luck to the farmers, who, in return, offer these men a glass of their best wine and best cake, made by the women of the household.

There is a small Hungarian village named Nagykarácsony, which literally means Large Christmas. This is the home of the Hungarian Santa Claus, called Mikulás. During Christmas this is probably the busiest post office in the country, because postcards posted here are stamped with a special Christmas stamp.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question-

What is the reason behind the Hungarian custom of eating fish at Christmas, instead of poultry?

In accordance with old traditional folk beliefs, eating poultry at Christmas is not fortuitous because it is said that chickens will bury one’s good luck for the following year, whereas fish and fishing are the traditional Christian symbols of Jesus Christ.

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings and Wishes

1- Merry Christmas!

Boldog Karácsonyt!

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Hungarian? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

Boldog Kwanzát!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

Boldog Új Évet!

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

Boldog Hanukát!

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

Kellemes téli szünetet!

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

Jövőre találkozunk!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

Minden jót kívánok!

An informal, friendly phrase to write in Hungarian Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

Kellemes Karácsonyi Ünnepeket!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in Hungarian, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

Érezd jól magad az ünnepek alatt!

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Hungarian, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

Minden jót kívánok az új évre!

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in Hungarian! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At HungarianPod101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

karácsony

This is the Hungarian word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in Hungarian will include this word!

2- Snow

In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake

hópehely

Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman

hóember

As you guessed - a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey

pulyka

Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath

koszorú

Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer

rénszarvas

Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus

Mikulás

Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf

manó

An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolf a piros orrú rénszarvas

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

Északi-sark

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled

szánkó

A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present

ajándék

Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell

csengő

On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney

kémény

The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace

kandalló

In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

Karácsony

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration

díszítés

Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking

harisnya

According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly

magyal

Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

mézeskalács ház

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

nyalóka

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe

fagyöngy

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Hungarian, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in Hungarian! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

6. HungarianPod101 Is One Of The Best Online Language Schools Available!

Visit HungarianPod101!

We don’t just say this - we can prove it! Geared to your personal needs and goals, we have several learning paths from which to choose. From Hungarian for Absolute Beginners to Advanced Hungarian, lessons are designed to meet you where you are, and increase your language abilities in fun, easy and interactive lessons! Mastering a new language has never been this easy or enjoyable.

We have over a decade of experience and research behind us, and it shows! With thousands of audio and video lessons, detailed PDF lessons and notes, as well as friendly, knowledgeable hosts, HungarianPod101 is simply unbeatable when it comes to learning correct Hungarian. Plenty of tools and resources are available when you study with us. New lessons are added every week so material remains fresh and relevant. You also have the option to upgrade and enjoy even more personalised guidance and services. This is a sure way to fast-track your learning!

So, this Christmas, why don’t you give yourself a present and enroll in HungarianPod101? Or give an enrollment as a present to a loved one. It will be a gift with benefits for a whole lifetime, not just over Christmas!

How to Start Thinking in Hungarian

Learn 4 tools and techniques to stop translating in your head and start thinking in Hungarian

Going through Hungarian lessons is enough to get by and learn the basics of Hungarian, but to truly become fluent you need to be able to think in Hungarian. This will allow you to have conversations with ease, read smoothly, and comprehensively understand natives. To do this, you need to go beyond just completing daily or weekly lessons.

We naturally translate in our heads because it’s viewed as the easiest way to learn the definitions needed when learning a language. This way of learning can actually hinder your skills and fluency later on. If your brain has to make neural connections between the word you’re learning, what it means in your native tongue, and the physical object the connection will not be nearly as strong. When you bypass the original translation between Hungarian and your native language then there is a more basic and strong connection between just the Hungarian vocabulary word and the tangible object.

start thinking in Hungarian

In this blog post, you will learn the 4 important techniques to easily and naturally begin to speculate about the daily occurrences in your life. The best part is all of these techniques are supported and can be achieved through HungarianPod101.com.

Create Your Free Lifetime Account and Start Learning the whole Hungarian Language from the Beginning!

1. Surround yourself with Hungarian

Surround Yourself

By surrounding yourself with Hungarian constantly you will completely immerse yourself in the language. Without realizing it you’ll be learning pronunciation, sentence structures, grammar, and new vocabulary. You can play music in the background while you’re cooking or have a Hungarian radio station on while you study. Immersion is a key factor with this learning process because it is one of the easiest things to do, but very effective. Even if you are not giving the program your full attention you will be learning.

One great feature of HungarianPod101.com is the endless podcasts that are available to you. You can even download and listen to them on the go. These podcasts are interesting and are perfect for the intention of immersion, they are easy to listen to as background noise and are interesting enough to give your full attention. Many of them contain stories that you follow as you go through the lessons which push you to keep going.

2. Learn through observation
learn through observation

Learning through observation is the most natural way to learn. Observation is how we all learned our native languages as infants and it’s a wonder why we stop learning this way. If you have patience and learn through observation then Hungarian words will have their own meanings rather than meanings in reference to your native language. Ideally, you should skip the bilingual dictionary and just buy a dictionary in Hungarian.

HungarianPod101.com also offers the materials to learn this way. We have numerous video lessons which present situational usage of each word or phrase instead of just a direct translation. This holds true for many of our videos and how we teach Hungarian.

3. Speak out loud to yourself
talk to yourself

Speaking to yourself in Hungarian not only gets you in the mindset of Hungarian, but also makes you listen to how you speak. It forces you to correct any errors with pronunciation and makes it easy to spot grammar mistakes. When you speak out loud talk about what you did that day and what you plan to do the next day. Your goal is to be the most comfortable speaking out loud and to easily create sentences. Once you feel comfortable talking to yourself start consciously thinking in your head about your daily activities and what is going on around you throughout the day.

With HungarianPod101.com you start speaking right away, not only this, but they have you repeat words and conversations after a native Hungarian speaker. This makes your pronunciation very accurate! With this help, you are on the fast path to making clear and complex sentences and then actively thinking about your day.

4. Practice daily

If you don’t practice daily then your progress will be greatly slowed. Many people are tempted to take the 20-30 minutes they should be practicing a day and practice 120 in one day and skip the other days. This isn’t nearly as effective because everyday you practice you are reinforcing the skills and knowledge you have learned. If you practice all in one day you don’t retain the information because the brain can realistically only focus for 30 minutes at most. If you’re studying for 120 minutes on the same subject little of the information will be absorbed. Studying everyday allows you to review material that you went over previous days and absorb a small amount of information at a time.

It’s tough to find motivation to study everyday, but HungarianPod101.com can help. It’s easy to stay motivated with HungarianPod101.com because we give you a set learning path, with this path we show how much progress you’ve made. This makes you stick to your goals and keep going!

Conclusion

Following the steps and having patience is the hardest part to achieving your goals, it’s not easy learning a new language. You are essentially teaching your brain to categorize the world in a completely new way. Stick with it and you can do it just remember the 4 tools I taught you today! With them, conversations, reading, and understanding will become much easier. The most important thing to remember is to use the tools that HungarianPod101.com provides and you will be on your way to being fluent!

Learn Hungarian With HungarianPod101 Today!

6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

There are plenty of destinations where you can get by with English, but sometimes you want to do better than just ‘get by’. Here are 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination.

What are the 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination?

1. You will be able to discover your destination better than other tourists.
Getting by is one thing, but actually experiencing a trip abroad is quite another. No amount of guidebooks and online research can compensate for a basic lack of language ability. Speaking the language of your destination permits you to explore that destination beyond the regular tourist traps. Your language skills will not only allow you to dig into all the hidden gems of your destination, but they will also allow you to mingle with the locals to get a true experience on your holiday. Think of it this way: you’re not restricted to talking to the people at the tourist desk anymore.

2. Knowing how to communicate with local police or medical personnel can be life-saving.
Before you leave for your destination, make sure you learn how to ask for help in that destination’s local tongue. Do you know how to ask the waiter if this dish has peanuts in it? Or tell your host family that you’re allergic to fish? Can you tell the local doctor where it hurts? Moreover, an awareness of an environment improves your chance of remaining safe inside it. For example, walking around a busy marketplace, dazzled by an unfamiliar language, signs and accents will instantly render any tourist a more attractive mark for pickpockets. Communicating with other people, asking questions and looking confident will make you look like a semi-local yourself, and will ward off potential thieves.

Click here for Hungarian Survival Phrases that will help you in almost every situation

3. It helps you relax.
Traveling is much less stressful when you understand what that announcement at the airport was saying, or if this bus line reaches your hotel. These things stress you out when traveling and they disappear when you understand the language. This allows you to focus on planning your trip in a better, easier way.

Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.

4. Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.
Sometimes those relationships turn into friendships, and other times they’re nothing more than a lively conversation. Either way, as Nelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” When you approach someone – even staff at a store or restaurant – with English, rather than their own language, an invisible divide has already been erected. Making even a small effort to communicate in the language of the place you’re visiting can go a long way and you’ll find many more doors open up to you as a result.

Click here for the Top 25 Hungarian Questions you need to know to start a conversation with anyone

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

5. You’ll be a better ambassador for your country.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we know very little about other countries and cultures, especially the local politics. And what we do know is often filtered to us by the media, which tends to represent only certain interests. When you can speak the local language, you’re able to answer questions that curious locals have about your country and culture. Are you frustrated with how your country is presented in global news? Are you embarrassed by your country’s leaders and want to make it clear that not everyone is like that where you’re from? This is a very good opportunity to share your story with people who have no one else to ask. We all have a responsibility to be representatives of the place we come from.

6. Learning another language can fend off Alzheimer’s, keep your brain healthy and generally make you smarter.
For more information, check out this blog post about the 5 Benefits of Learning a New Language.

5 Tips To Motivate Yourself While Learning A Second Language

5 Tips to Motivate Yourself

1. Schedule your time.

One of the most important factors in keeping your motivation up is developing it into a habit. Whether it be 20 minutes or 3 hours, schedule time to study every day and stick to it. Regular exposure solidifies what you learn and keeps you progressing. To make sure you stick to your routine, a great idea is to build a schedule for your day and decide that every day/Monday/weekend, you study from 6pm to 8pm. Just remember that 30 minutes a day, every day, is better than a binge 8-hour study session at the end of the week (though it’s obviously better than nothing).

2. Learn a word a day with our great Word of the Day learning tool.

Trying to learn everything at once and getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of words in your new language is not a good idea. Sometimes, even if you do learn new words, you forget them quickly because you haven’t heard them enough in context. As mentioned above, daily exposure to new words is an important factor in solidifying your target language. Our Word of the Day tool delivers you daily words and phrases, shows you how to pronounce them and use them in different contexts. Since you can get the WOTD via email, Facebook, or Twitter, this is a passive way of learning a language that fits into your existing daily social media routine. It only takes 3 minutes to review a word and practice its pronunciation, so you can do it on the way to work, in the gym, or even before you go to bed.

Click here to get the Hungarian Word of the Day for FREE!

3. Make friends!

Make friends!

If there’s a community of people who speak the language you want to learn in your city, start attending those events! Friendship is the easiest way to get comfortable with the slang, intonation, and mannerisms of a new language. The key to learning any language is speaking a lot, so try to find a native speaker who can be your conversation partner. Having friends that speak your target language means that you will find yourself in situations where you have no choice but to speak that language. But since they are your friends, you will be doing things you enjoy with them. So these situations will probably have little or no stress. These friendships will also mean that you have someone you can ask about language, culture, and so on.

4. Take a break!

Break time

If you’re having an off day or if your brain is already tired of studying, see if you can take a break and do something fun AND useful. Comic books, illustrated stories, and cartoons are a fun way to keep learning while reducing the target language text load for weary eyes. Plus, the images help you plant lasting seeds of memory, as researchers say humor opens up cognitive doors. This is a way to keep the target language active in your brain without the strain of studying a textbook.

Don’t get stuck with the same content though. When things start to bore you, move on. Change up your books, movies, anime, music, dramas, and so on when they start getting old.

5. Don’t give up!

As with any goal, there are going to be pitfalls along the way. You’d have to be incredibly determined to never have an off-day or consider giving up. And when you do it’s ok, but the important thing is to pick yourself up after this temporary setback and keep going. Knowing you’ve overcome a few obstacles is only going to make the moment you have your first conversation in another language that much sweeter. Like the Hungarian proverb says, ‘Fall down seven times, stand up eight.’

If you need more motivation, check out this list of the Top 10 Inspirational Quotes in Hungarian.