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Traditional Hungarian Christmas




Before Christmas we have got ”Santa Claus” at 6th of December. Hungarian Christmas traditions are plenty and make Christmas a unique and special time to share with family and friends. In Hungary, Christmas means time to be together with the loved ones.
This is mainly a family celebration. Although, some of these practices have lost importance over the time, there are still many Hungarians who keep them proudly every December. Hungarian Christmas traditions are plenty and make Christmas a unique and special time to share with family and friends. In Hungary, Christmas means time to be together with the loved ones.
This is mainly a family celebration. Although, some of these practices have lost importance over the time, there are still many Hungarians who keep them proudly every December.
Waiting

Hungarian Christmas starts with the celebration of Advent (preparation time before Christmas). Advent starts four Sundays before Christmas, at this time families decorate their front yards and tables with beautiful advent wreathsadorned with four candles.
Nicholas is the Hungarian version of Santa Claus. On this Day, St Nicholas visits children at home and at schools.
At home children wait for Mikulás by leaving their polished boots at the window the night of December 5th. If kids have been good over the year St Nicholas fills their boots with treats, chocolates, mandarins, peanuts and small gifts such as toys and books.
If children have been really naughty they get in their boots some goodies and a switch made of dry twigs (virgács)as a sign of warning.
At homes where there are small children, usually a family friend dresses up like Mikulás and brings the presents himself to children. When Mikulás arrives, children sing songs or tell poems to him.
Mikulás praises them for the good deeds and calls them off for their naughtiness. Before leaving St. Mikulás gives gifts to the children.



Christmas Eve and the Christmas Tree

In Hungary, the Christmas tree is decorated on the Holy night (December 24). That is why you don’t find Christmas trees in Hungarian homes before December 24th Christmas Eve (Holy Night “Szent-este” in Hungarian) is the most important event of Hungarian Christmas traditions.
On this day Hungarians celebrate the birth day of Jesus Christ. In the afternoon of December 24th families get together to adorn the Christmas tree, to have dinner together, to celebrate and to exchange presents.
Hungarian Christmas Traditions Christmas Tree
Hungarian Christmas Traditions Christmas Tree

Children are taught that it is baby Jesus (Jeszuska) who brings the decorated tree and gifts for all on Christmas Eve and not Santa Claus as in many other countries. Traditionally, in the afternoon of Christmas Eve while adults secretly set up the Christmas tree, children are banned from the room where the Christmas tree will be set up.
They are entertained somewhere else in the house or taken to see the city’s Christmas lights by grandparents or older siblings.
My family in law keeps this nice tradition and all children in the family get really excited about baby Jesus bringing secretly the tree and gifts.
In our family, once the tree is set up, a small bell is played as a sign that baby Jesus has brought the tree and gifts. When kids hear it, they run with excitement to find the presents. Once children see the tree they sing traditional Hungarian Christmas carols and then we give presents.



Hungarian Christmas Dinner

When all the excitement around the Christmas tree has passed we move to the dinner table that is beautifully set for a traditional Hungarian Christmas dinner.



Nicholas is the Hungarian version of Santa Claus. On this Day, St Nicholas visits children at home and at schools.
At home children wait for Mikulás by leaving their polished boots at the window the night of December 5th. If kids have been good over the year St Nicholas fills their boots with treats, chocolates, mandarins, peanuts and small gifts such as toys and books.
If children have been really naughty they get in their boots some goodies and a switch made of dry twigs (virgács)as a sign of warning.
At homes where there are small children, usually a family friend dresses up like Mikulás and brings the presents himself to children. When Mikulás arrives, children sing songs or tell poems to him.
Mikulás praises them for the good deeds and calls them off for their naughtiness. Before leaving St. Mikulás gives gifts to the children.



Christmas Eve and the Christmas Tree

In Hungary, the Christmas tree is decorated on the Holy night (December 24). That is why you don’t find Christmas trees in Hungarian homes before December 24th Christmas Eve (Holy Night “Szent-este” in Hungarian) is the most important event of Hungarian Christmas traditions.
On this day Hungarians celebrate the birth day of Jesus Christ. In the afternoon of December 24th families get together to adorn the Christmas tree, to have dinner together, to celebrate and to exchange presents.
Hungarian Christmas Traditions Christmas Tree
Hungarian Christmas Traditions Christmas Tree

Children are taught that it is baby Jesus (Jeszuska) who brings the decorated tree and gifts for all on Christmas Eve and not Santa Claus as in many other countries. Traditionally, in the afternoon of Christmas Eve while adults secretly set up the Christmas tree, children are banned from the room where the Christmas tree will be set up.
They are entertained somewhere else in the house or taken to see the city’s Christmas lights by grandparents or older siblings.
My family in law keeps this nice tradition and all children in the family get really excited about baby Jesus bringing secretly the tree and gifts.
In our family, once the tree is set up, a small bell is played as a sign that baby Jesus has brought the tree and gifts. When kids hear it, they run with excitement to find the presents. Once children see the tree they sing traditional Hungarian Christmas carols and then we give presents.



Hungarian Christmas Dinner

When all the excitement around the Christmas tree has passed we move to the dinner table that is beautifully set for a traditional Hungarian Christmas dinner


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