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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Hungary, Lesson 12 - All Saints’ Day and All Souls' Day
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Hungary Series at HungarianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Hungarian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 12, All Saints’ Day and All Souls' Day. In Hungarian, it’s called a mindenszentek napja és halottak napja.
On the 1st and 2nd day of November, traffic sharply increases around the cemeteries, or temető, in Hungary. This is because the first two days of November are All Saints' Day or All Hallows and All Souls' Day. If you are interested in these Catholic holidays, then stay with us, as they are our topics for this lesson.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question -
Do you know which flower is known as the flower of the dead in Hungary?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The Catholic All Saints' Day is a day to commemorate souls, or lelkek. Its origins date back to Celtic times. This day was the first day of the Celtic New Year. It was believed that it was only on this day the souls of those who died in the preceding year could make the transition to the empire of the dead. Later, in 835 the Catholic Church officially declared November 1 as the commemoration day of blissful souls, and in this way Catholic and pagan holidays were merged.
November 2, All Souls' Day, was recognized as a holiday by the Church in 998. This is the day to commemorate those souls who haven't received salvation and are currently in purgatory, or in Hungarian purgatórium. Despite popularity in many western countries, Halloween masquerades with candies, or cukorkák and chocolates, or csokoládék have no root in Hungary.
On the first two days of November, all families in Hungary visit cemeteries. They clean the graves of their dead relatives and decorate them with bouquets, wreaths and candles, praying for the salvation of their family members’ souls. According to the Catholic faith, candlelight, or gyertyafény symbolizes the eternal light, while according to the pagan tradition, candles are lit in order to give warmth to errant souls and help them find their graves and prevent them from disturbing living people. Church bells all over the country also continuously clang for 1-2 hours, because souls in purgatory are thought to be calmed by tolling.
A long time ago during candlelighting, people would watch for whose candle would go out first. According to superstition, that person would be the next to die. Of course, this is not such a comforting thought...
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know which flower is known as the flower of the dead in Hungary?
It is the chrysanthemum or krizantém. Since they bloom in late October to early November and come in many colors, chrysanthemums can be seen all over cemeteries on All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.
Did you like this lesson? Did you learn any interesting facts?
When do people commemorate the dead in your country?
Leave us your comments at HungarianPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.