Customs and Traditions of Hungary
Population and religion
According to Countryaah, most of the country’s population is Hungarians (about 92%). The rest of the inhabitants belong to the ethnic groups of Roma (2%), Germans (1%), Jews (1%), Romanians (0.8%), Slovaks (0.4%), Serbs (0.2%), Croats ( 0.2%) and Ukrainians (0.1%).
The vast majority of Hungarians practice Roman Catholicism. In addition, there are population groups that profess Calvinism, Lutheranism, Judaism and other religions.
The official language is Hungarian. The native language of the Hungarians belongs to the Uralic language family of the Finno-Ugric branch of the Ugric sub-branch and is related to the languages of the Khanty and Mansi peoples.
In tourist services in the country, communication in English and German is common, some Hungarians understand Russian. Check agooddir for recent history of Hungary.
Rules of conduct for tourists
Gestures and facial expressions
- A typical gesture of greeting in Hungary is a single firm handshake. Women’s handshake is softer.
- Hugs at a meeting are accepted only between close people, Hungarians hug, lightly touching their cheeks. Between loved ones, an “air kiss” is also possible – kisses first on the left cheek, then on the right and again on the left. Close friends of the same sex can be seen walking hand in hand or holding hands.
- The generally accepted gesture of farewell in the country is the raised right hand, palm outward and with fingers pressed.
- Local residents, communicating with a person, pay special attention to posture.
- It is not customary for Hungarians to smile as often as, for example, for Americans. You may not see a smile on their face when they meet, this is normal.
- Hungarians often come close enough to the interlocutor, for some people this may seem uncomfortable.
- Acquaintance through a mutual acquaintance is preferred to independent acquaintance. The latter is resorted to only in case of special need.
- When meeting through an intermediary, it is customary to introduce older people to younger ones, women to men.
- The Hungarian introduces himself by giving his last name first, then his first name. When meeting a foreigner for the first time, locals expect to hear the correct address before the surname, that is, Dr., Mr., Mrs.
Behavior at a party and at the table
- If a tourist was invited to visit, he can present a small gift to the hosts.
- Raising a glass, it is customary to say “egeszsegedre!”, which means “to your health.”
- In Hungary, it is not customary to clink glasses, as there is a belief that this brings bad luck.
Topics of conversation
- Recommended topics: Hungarian culture, Hungarian cuisine and wines, family, children.
- Unacceptable topics: personal sphere (marital status, health, work, etc.), comparison of Hungarians and other Slavic nations, relations between Hungarians and Gypsies, the Soviet regime, the First and Second World Wars. When discussing these topics, foreign citizens should be as correct as possible.
National Hungarian holidays:
January 1 – New Year.
March 15 – National Independence Day of Hungary (Day of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848).
April – Easter (Bright Monday), Pentecost (Spirit Monday).
August 20 – Saint Stephen’s Day. One of the main public holidays, on this day the first king of Hungary, Istvan, was crowned, who introduced Christianity in the country.
May 1 is Labor Day.
October 23 – Republic Day and commemoration day of the Hungarian uprising of 1956.
December 25-26 – Catholic Christmas
Many national festivals are celebrated in Hungary. Of these, music festivals are especially popular: the Verdi Festival takes place in January in Budapest, in the summer Holiday Weeks are organized in Sopron, the Festival in Szeged and others. Of the folklore festivals, the summer international knightly stadiums held in Visegrad, the European Folk Festival in the city of Yasberen, the International Days of Folk Art, which are celebrated in Sarvar, are successful with tourists. Wine festivals are especially famous: the September wine festival is held in Budapest, in the same month the Hungarians celebrate the World Festival “Ode to Wine” in Pec, every summer in July in Balatonfured you can visit the Wine Week.
Many Hungarian customs are associated with the farshang holiday – the celebration of the end of winter, the Hungarian Maslenitsa. Folk festivals were organized for the holiday.