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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Hungary, Lesson 3 - Easter
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 3. Easter. In Hungarian, this is húsvét.
Have you heard of the Hungarian tradition of Sprinkling on Easter? In this lesson we'll talk about this old tradition and lots of other interesting facts about the festivities held during Easter.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
Why might girls choose to stay away from their own homes during Easter?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
In Hungary, similar to other Christian countries, Easter is one of the most significant holidays of the year. Not only is it the time of Jesus's resurrection; it is also the carnival of the coming spring. Shops are stocked full with chocolate eggs, bunnies, lambs, and other symbols related to Easter.
The traditional Easter table is full of boiled eggs, in Hungarian főtt tojások, cooked ham, or főzött sonka, stuffed smoked ham with horseradish, or torma, and freshly baked bread or buns. The egg is the traditional symbol of the rebirth of life and fertility, the bread or bun is the symbol of the body of Jesus Christ, and horseradish is the symbol of the bitter suffering of Jesus.
Of course, there are many beautiful folk traditions related to Easter; one of the most interesting is the Easter Sprinkling, called húsvéti locsolkodás in Hungarian. On Easter Monday, boys and men visit houses where girls who are eligible to marry live. There, they sprinkle the girls with water to bless them and recite funny and sometimes obscene short poems for them in the hopes of winning over their hearts. In Hungarian, the word for poem is vers. In return, the girls present painted eggs or chocolate eggs; younger boys may also receive some pocket money. Needless to say, they also offer home-made wine and spirits. Originally, girls were sprinkled generously with fresh water from the local well, but nowadays boys use generous doses of cheap perfume instead.
In remote villages, Catholic priests give sermons in local churches, then visit several adjacent villages by car. During the sermons, the priest drinks from the wine cup used in the mass. After Hungary introduced its zero tolerance policy on blood alcohol content while driving, the custom presented a problem for priests driving to several locations. The Catholic Church and relevant authorities have yet to find a solution to this problem.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Why might girls choose to stay away from their own homes during Easter?
Since boys in recent years have started using cheap perfumes with strong fragrances to bless girls instead of water, more and more girls go out for the day to avoid having huge doses of perfume sprinkled on them.
Did you like this lesson? Did you learn something interesting?
Do you have Easter traditions like these in your country as well?
Leave us your comments at HungarianPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.