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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Hungary, Lesson 9 - Mardi Gras
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 9, Mardi Gras. In Hungarian, it’s called farsang.
Who hasn't heard about the famous carnivals of Rio and Venice? In this lesson, we’ll introduce you to the smaller, Hungarian version of these carnivals, the Busójárás of Mohács. So come on! Get your fancy dress on!
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
One of the important items of the fancy dress busó busó jelmez, which is the traditional costume that some people wear in the city of Mohács on Mardi Gras, is a mask. Do you know what people traditionally used to paint these masks?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The carnival season starts on January 6 and lasts until Ash Wednesday, or hamvazószerda. There are several balls, festivities and popular carnivals held during this season. Hungary's most famous carnival is the Busójárás of Mohács mohácsi busójárás, which is on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity representative list. The Busójárás of Mohács is actually about waiting for the end of winter. During this time, busós, the person who wears the busó costume, cross the river in scary masks and march through the town with clappers, or kereplők, and bells. To symbolize the end of winter, in Hungarian called tél, they send a "winter's coffin" down on the river, and to make winter's death certain, they burn it on the bonfire, or máglya.
A long time ago, the carnival season was also the time of choosing mates and holding weddings, in Hungarian esküvők. This took place for two reasons. First, simply because weddings were forbidden during lent, and secondly, because villagers had nothing to do in the fields so they had enough free time to go to carnivals and weddings. Balls were organized by young men, while ladies made posies and sent them to the men they had picked. If a young man decided to put the posy onto his hat, it meant that there was no impediment to the engagement, or in Hungarian, eljegyzés.
Today you can also enjoy the carnival season in cities, if you visit a masquerade in a club or a bar. If you wear a costume, you can even get a discount on the entry fee. Don't be surprised if you see scary or funny costumes outside on the street either! Children are also very excited during this season, as most schools and kindergartens organize costume contests.
The day following Ash Wednesday is called Fat Thursday, or in Hungarian torkos csütörtök. On this day you can eat for half price in all restaurants that have joined up to this country-wide promotion. The success of the event is shown by the fact that last time it was held, costume-wearers enjoyed food in more than 800 restaurants at more than ten thousand tables.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
One of the important items of busó fancy dress is the mask. Do you know what people traditionally used to paint these masks?
Busó masks were painted with animals' blood. Almost all households held pig slaughters, so the cheapest and most practical "dye" was pig’s blood.
Did you like this lesson? Did you learn any interesting facts?
What would you wear if you visited a Hungarian masquerade?
Leave us your comments at HungarianPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.