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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Hungary, Lesson 8 - Pentecost
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 8, Pentecost. In Hungarian, it’s called pünkösd.
Do you know how to be a Pentecostal King or Queen? Or who makes a Maypole, called májusfa in Hungarian, and why? In this lesson we will discuss Hungarian habits and traditions surrounding Pentecost. You can also experience it yourself if you visit Hungary on the seventh Sunday and Monday after Easter, known as Whit Sunday and Whit Monday.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
What is the meaning of the old Hungarian saying: "As short as the Pentecostal Kingdom"?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Pentecost is an ancient festivity in which Christians celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit. People in Christian churches throw rose petals, called rózsaszirmok in Hungarian, which symbolize the flame around the Holy Spirit, which itself is symbolized by white doves. The celebration of Pentecost in Hungary includes several elements of ancient Hungarian traditions, one being the Pentecostal King. Since the medieval ages all villages have chosen their own Pentecostal Kings. The winner, or győztes is decided by horse races or other competitions. The winner of the competitions is crowned the Pentecostal King, or pünkösdi király, and receives many privileges and invitations to balls, nuptials, and free drinks in the pub.
Now, we have our Pentecostal King, but what about a Pentecostal Queen, or pünkösdi királyné. Actually, there is no single girl who is named queen. Rather, the girls of a certain village will walk around and visit people’s homes holding a cloth over the head of the youngest and the prettiest among them, singing happy songs to wish for a good yield for the villagers. In this way, all of the young and pretty girls are celebrated as queens.
Another beautiful Hungarian tradition is kalinkázás. In this tradition, a young man gives a fancy, hand-made paddle to his chosen one. If the girl accepts the paddle, they go boating on a boat laced with green twigs. In other villages, young men might make Maypoles, which are used for the same purpose, to show their love to the lady in their heart.
People still maintain these beautiful traditions in many Hungarian villages. For example, Ópusztaszer and Szentendre organize folk dance, or néptánc shows and traditional games for visitors every year. In major towns, you can attend pálinka or wine festivals, flower carnivals, and handicraft fairs. Beyond its religious significance, it's all about springtime and love.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What is the meaning of the old Hungarian saying: "As short as the Pentecostal Kingdom".
In the lesson we mentioned the Pentecostal Kings and their privileges. But we didn’t mention that the king can only enjoy these advantages for one year. This is what is meant by the saying "As short as the Pentecostal Kingdom".
Did you like this lesson? Did you learn any interesting facts?
Do you have similar traditions in your country?
Leave us your comments at HungarianPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.