Budapest Local Customs

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    Zoltan Kodaly - Hungarian composer
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Most Recent Local Customs in Budapest

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    The Maygar Language

    by cjg1 Written Dec 31, 2008

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    The Hungarian name for the language is Magyar. It is considered to be one of the most difficult languages for speakers of English to learn. I wasn't comfortable with trying to read or speak the language. Thank God we had our friend to translate for us.

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  • sorrow

    by blint Updated Dec 7, 2008

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    The Hungarians love to feel sorry for themselves as a nation. They love to dwell on failed heroes who they still celebrate as if they had succeeded in their quests. In fact one of their most important national holidays celebrates the unsuccessful revolution of 1956 against the Soviets.

    The street names celebrate those who have suffered most in Hungarian history instead of those who have conquered.

    They seem to feel wronged by history and disillusioned which their current political state. I am told that Hungarians love to talk politics and to complain.

    This patriotic sorrow spills over into everyday life. Coming from Spain I see that the Hungarians are more serious and laugh less, though this doesn't mean to say that they don't have fun. I suppose it is just less obvious IN GENERAL. The loudest people in a bar are always Italians, Spaniards and Americans.

    I am happy to find that although you see many very butch looking Hungarian men they don't seem to be looking for a fight. I have seen minor signs of aggression but normally directed towards inanimate objects rather than people.

    Hungarians get drunk, stagger and often end up walking in the middle of the road. They are therefore quiet drunks compared to Brits who get drunk and end up doing stupid dares or getting into fights.

    Supermarket shop assistants are the rudest breed of Hungarian working in the service industry. If you have a bad experience with them don't misjudge the Hungarians in general who are on the whole polite people who will always say sorry to you if they bump into you by accident or the such like. Remember, if you are paid badly then why smile about it?

    Are Hungarians friendly? They are but they are also difficult to get to know in general. However they seem to be the type that once you get to know them they will be a true friend. That is to say they seem pretty genuine.

    They are very interested in foreigners and to know what their language sounds like to those who can't speak it.

    They are known to be homophobic and a little racist especially towards gypsies. AGAIN I AM GENERALISING.

    They like hearing Hungarian spoken by foreigners.
    '
    They don't use their hands to speak, so if you do you will stand out!

    How to spot a Hungarian. You can't. They all look very different from each other due to their mixed cultural background.

    They hate it when you tell them Hungarian sounds like Russian or Polish. Furthermore, it doesn't.

    They love to put paprika in EVERYTHING!

    They love to go to tanning centres and you can spot solariums on every street corner.

    They dream to live in Spain or Italy but most want to come home to Hungary again.

    All in all they are proud to be Hungarians, respect those who have suffered and don't like to feel embarrassed i.e they are pretty reserved. I only have experience in Budapest;I am sure those from the countryside are different in many ways...

    If you are Hungarian and read this I hope you do not feel offended in any way and feel free to send me an EMAIL to contest anything I have said.

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  • Christmas Traditions

    by blint Written Dec 7, 2008

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    On the night of December 5th St Nicholas (Szent Mikulas) or in Britain or America as he is known: Father Christmas or Santa Claus comes to visit.

    This tradition originates from the story that Mikulas wanted to help out a poor old man who did not have the money to pay the dowry for his daughters therefore they would have been sold into slavery. Mikulas is thought to have thrown money into his shoes drying by the open fire. This brought about the tradition of hanging stockings by the fireplace in the hope of getting presents.

    These days in Hungary the children receive sweets of small toys on this night and Szent Mikulas is thought to be accompanied by an angel and a type of black demon who looks for those children who have been naughty and leaves them golden twigs as a warning.

    On Saturday 6th December you can in fact see many shop workers and so forth wearing horns and carrying golden twigs.

    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Family Travel

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    Christmas fair with three million light bulbs

    by csordila Updated Nov 26, 2008

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    Downtown of Budapest is always in festive flood of light in the weeks of Advent, which officially begins the fourth Sunday before December 25.
    From this occasion a spectacular fair takes place every year from the end of November until end of December in the heart of the city, in Vörösmarty Square. The popular and Europe-wide well known festive atmosphere of the Fair is due to the unique pavilions and the exclusive goods available in them: almost 100 craft stands offer goods, special gifts and folk art and craft decorations.
    The Gerbeaud house's facade turns into a giant Advent calendar and daily in the evening at five oclock a contemporary artist's creation appears in the accompaniment of a play of sound and light in a newer window. As you know, the Advent calendar, like the Christmas tree, came from Swabian region of Germany.
    The fair also has a gastronomic side. On the event, the visitors can taste the traditional Hungarian foods, such as stuffed cabbage, chimney cake and the famous "lángos"!! After drinking a mug of mulled wine, you may take the mug home as a souvenir.

    The Christmas fair on Vörösmarty square is elected as one of the world's 10 best Christmas fairs by the travel magazine Travel and Leisure.

    Address: Budapest V., Vorosmarty ter
    Directions: Vorosmarty ter M1 Millennium metro terminal

    Giant Advent calendar Christmas fair Mulled wine Traditional Christmas cake Hungarian fried sausage
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    Name-days in Hungary

    by csordila Updated Nov 26, 2008

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    Name days in Hungary differently from english-speaking countries are widely celebrated and very popular. A flower and tiny gifts are given as a present to the women mainly, the men get bottle of wine from everybody, the colleagues, the family, and from friends.
    Birthday is popular too, but its celebrating is generaly a matter of the family.

    The Roman Catholic Church provides the name of one of his Saints to the Baptized who should be his/her ideal and his/her patron in the matters with God. This is the main forename, in Hungary called "Christian name", given to a child at the baptism or "christening".
    I got my christian name from Saint Ladislaus, in Hungarian (Szent) Laszlo, who was the 5th christian King of Hungary in the 11st Century.

    Nameday Christening ceremony Christening
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    • Arts and Culture
    • Wine Tasting

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    Shinny Horse Balls

    by Gypsystravels Updated Nov 19, 2008

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    Located here in the Castle District just steps away from the Dali Cafe is the statue of Andras Hadik on a horse. It is said that rubbing the balls of the horse will bring you luck and it is the reason why while the rest of the horse has a green patina the "balls" are super shinny.

    I personally didn't rub them and did see anyone else around me rubbing them either, but someone's been rubbing them. LOL

    Statue of Andras Hadik Shinny horse balls

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    Sweet tooth of Budapest

    by Gypsystravels Updated Nov 18, 2008

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    Hungary has a varied and wonderful selection of pastries to please any sweet tooth. Just take a walk around any neighborhood and you will definitely find a shop selling all these wonderful treats.

    Here is a list of some of the wonderful treats you will find at any of these shops which can be enjoyed any time of the day.

    Dobos torta (Dobos cake) - sponge layered with rich chocolate cream and coated with crunchy caramel

    Eszeteházy torta - cake layered with walnut cream

    Krémes - light vanilla craem filled between two layers of crunchy puff pastries

    Rigó Jancsi - chocolate sponge filled with light chocolate mousse and coated with chocolate

    Rákóczi Túrós - cottage cheese cake

    Strudels (Rétes), a flaky pastry with various fillings like cottage cheese, apple, poppy-seed and cherries

    Kürtõs kalács is a hollow, cylinder shaped pastry coated with castor sugar, cinnamon or walnut, this particular treat is sold at festivals and outdoor events.

    Mmmmmmmmmmm

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    Taste the local flavor

    by Gypsystravels Updated Nov 18, 2008

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    Hungarian goulash is considered the most famous of Hungarian meals. It is said that everyone has their own version or way of cooking it by adding or omitting some ingredients, but they all call their recipe "authentic gulyás".

    The main ingredients to this wonderful dish is beef which is cooked with onions, Hungarian paprika powder, tomatoes and some green pepper. Some will add some potatos and/or noodles. When a goulash is well cooked properly it should have a somewhat thick consistency which may resemble a sauce and is usually eatan as main dish.

    My goulash at the Dali Cafe

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    Do you smoke?

    by gildapaolina Updated Sep 24, 2008

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    Rákóczi út is the long way to Keleti palayudvar that I baptized Nikórette út: every 50m you run into an ashtray, some full of cigarettes, some other empty, but ALL sponsorized by a famous stop-smoking gum...

    Sponsorized ashtray!

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  • Toilets

    by blint Written Aug 1, 2008

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    For some reason many toilets in Hungry and back to front with the drainage part at the very front. Instead of dropping straight down the back part is like a tray. I was very curious as to why this is and thought that it might be made that way so you can exam your stool samples to check and see if all is healthy. When I asked a Hungarian friend she told me Hungarians are obsessed with the 'waste' they produce! Maybe that's just her office colleagues, but the toilet design certainly does help this fascination as it is right there staring back at you!

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    Thermal Baths

    by ophiro Written Jul 11, 2008

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    Budapest has a lot of Thermal baths.
    A lot of local and of course tourists come and enjoy the water for relaxation , medical purposes and even to just meet friends or enjoy a chess game.

    The most famous thermal baths in Budapest are :
    Gellert Bath - located on Gellert hill very close to the Gellert hotel.
    Szechenyi Bath - located on city park , behind heroes square.

    Szechenyi Bath
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    Toilets

    by ophiro Written Jul 11, 2008

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    If you need to go to the toilet while traveling in Budapest there are some chemical or public toilets.

    Most of them are very clean and you will have to pay 50-150 forint.

    Of course if you are in a hotel , a restaurant or a shopping mall you will not have to pay for entering the toilet.

    toilet on margaret island

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    Paprika

    by ophiro Written Jul 11, 2008

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    The Hungarian cuisine is very famous for the Paprika - the spicy hot pepper that brought by the turks in the 16th-17th century.

    You will find in any touristic area and the central market hall stands with a lof of dried paprika in packets outside.

    You can buy paprika in a few ways : a big packet , a paste (comes in bottles or tubes) , powder.

    paprika near the Buda Castle Paprika in the central market hall
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    • Food and Dining

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    Chain bridge during the summer

    by ophiro Written Jul 11, 2008

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    During the summer weekends (on saturday and sunday) the chain bridge in the middle of Budapest becomes a pedestrian only area and you will be able to enjoy a non-traffic area with food stands , gifts stands , live shows and great atmosphere.

    Beside the nice "festival" the view from here is lovely with the Buda castle on one side and Roosvelt square on the other side.

    a funny picture

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    Tipping in restaurants

    by ophiro Written Jul 11, 2008

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    A lot of restaurants include the service on the bill.
    Most of the time it will be 10% and they write it on the bottom of the bill for your comfort of understanding the bill's parts.

    If you don't see the service included you can always ask and give the waiter a 10% tip - he will be very happy.

    bottles on a wall inside a restaurant

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Budapest Local Customs

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