Budapest Local Customs

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Best Rated Local Customs in Budapest

  • The Magyars

    by blint Updated Apr 15, 2008

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    The Hungarians speak Magyar which belongs to the Finno-Ugric languages making it very different to Indo-European
    languages such as English. This makes it a very difficult language to learn as there are very few cognates (similar words). For example goodbye is
    Viszontlatasra (polite), thank you is Köszönöm, Excuse me is Bocsanat, Do you speak English is Beszel angolul, which bare no resemblance to any other European language!

    Saying that they say Szia pronounced more or less "seeya" to say hello and sometimes goodbye which sounds like the English "see you". I find this amusing.

    Another cultural point different to the rest of Europe is that they put the surname before the first name. So Julie Blint becomes Blint Julie! Therefore take care with names whilst you're visiting this country!

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    15th March - People at the National Museum

    by MedioLatino Written Mar 17, 2005

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    The 15th March is a National Holiday in Hungary to commemorate the revolution of 1848.

    At this time major festivities are being held around the city, one of the biggest ones at the National Museum.

    This day usually is one of the first real spring days. Now it actually happened be the very first "off the jacket" day in the year, that is why people are taking some sunbath on the stairs of the Museum.

    (The National Museum is on Muzeum krt., near Kalvin ter M3 underground station)

    People bathing in the sun under the decorations

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    Hang out if the weather allows you

    by MedioLatino Written Jun 20, 2005

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    People in Budapest (just like everywhere else :) like to hang out if the weather is good.

    One of the newest "hang out spots" in the city is the little park on Erzsebet square. You can sit down for a chat or for some relaxation, and there is still a café downstairs if you get thirsty.

    The place was originally ment to be the site of the new national theatre, but after the city/government changed it's mind, it bacame a underground parking place and the part above was converted to give place to some recreational areas (park, benches, etc.) and also to an exposition/concert hall.

    It's on the side of Deak ter, so all the 3 underground lines will take you there.

    Erzsebet square - Park above the

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    Go to the Bath!

    by melissa_bel Written Aug 24, 2004

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    Budapest is known for its thermal bath and the Gellért is one of the oldest in town. This lovely Art Nouveau hotel will put you in the mood for some serious relaxation! When we went there, it was the "men's day" so we couldn't use the steam room (the pool is coed - mixed bathing (May–Sept daily 6am–7pm, July & Aug Fri & Sat also 8pm–midnight; Oct–April Mon–Fri 6am–7pm, Sat & Sun 6am–5pm), so an employee gave us some direction to another bath where us ladies could use the steam room and it was a blast. A short tram ride away, the little bath we went to was really where ordinary Hungarians go take care of themselves. I wish I remembered the name.
    First, we had to get undressed and the employee gave us those pieces of cloth that really don't hide anything. After the first moment of embarrassment, we got rid of them. Being embarrassed was... well... embarrassing. The dark main room topped with a dome had a hot mineral bath and cold pool. Next to it, the steam room (which was in fact a little room with the heater set at maximum temperatures). The locals, instead of sitting quietly like I did, have little instruments to scrape their dead skin. That grossed out some of my friends. I thought it kinda made sense. Anyway, after several dips in the hot pool then in the cold, I felt all my body in a state of relaxation hard to describe. I wished we had had more time there because the massages were very cheap. But we only had a few hours in Budapest and we had to make them count.

    The address for the hotel is : Gellért Hotel, Gellért tér 1, Budapest

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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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    Hungarian beer

    by HORSCHECK Updated Jul 24, 2005

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    The most famous beer brand of Hungary is Dreher. The Dreher brewery was founded by Antal Dreher in the mid 19th century. It is located in Kobanya which is the X. district of Budapest. In local pubs or at market stalls you get a Pint of Dreher for around 200 HUF (2004).

    Dreher beer
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    15th March - Petofi statue replica

    by MedioLatino Written Mar 17, 2005

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    The 15th March is a National Holiday in Hungary to commemorate the revolution of 1848.

    At this time major festivities are being held around the city, one of the biggest ones at the Petofi statue (he was a great Hungarian poet/writer and also a leader of the revolution).

    This temporary "statue" near the original one is a replica of the Petofi statue, installed only for the events of the day. The original (just like the replica on that day...) is on Petofi ter, on the Danube corso, near the Elisabeth Bridge (Pest side).

    Petofi replicas on the Danube corso

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    MARKETS, RESTAURANTS

    by nygaston Written Nov 15, 2004

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    Large supermarket chains like Csemege Julius Meinl, Kaiser’s and Rothschild sometimes sell takeaway salads in plastic containers. Healthy brown bread is made from four to six different grains and is sprinkled with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and rolled oats. You can also find kifli, crescent rolls made from reform dough.

    Hungarian restaurants (etterem or vendeglo) are relatively inexpensive. Meal prices begin at around 300 Ft in a self-service restaurant , 500-800 Ft in a local restaurant and 1000-1500 Ft in a tourist restaurant. For many Hungarians, lunch remains the main meal of the day. Some restaurants offer a set lunch (menu) on weekdays and this is usually good value. It consists of soup, a side salad, a main course and occasionally a dessert.

    Restaurant menus are often translated into German and sometimes into English. The main categories on a menu (in this order ) are eloetelek (appetisers), levesek (soups), salatak (salads) , keszetelek (ready-to-serve meals which are just heated up), frissensult (freshly prepared meals), haletelek or halak (fish dishes), szarnyasok (poultry dishes), tesztak (desserts), and sajtok (cheeses) – useful to know if you have to choose blindly from a Hungarian menu. If you’re in a bit of a hurry, order something from the keszetelek section and not a frissensultek dish which can take 20 minutes to prepare.

    If garnishes (koretek) such as rice, pommes frites, burgonya (potatoes) or zoldseg (vegetables) are individually listed in a separate section of the menu, it probably means they’re not included with the main plate and will cost extra, though main courses always include some sort of garnish.

    Train station

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    ATTENTION

    by nygaston Updated Nov 15, 2004

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    If garnishes (koretek) such as rice, pommes frites, burgonya (potatoes) or zoldseg (vegetables) are individually listed in a separate section of the menu, it probably means they’re not included with the main plate and will cost extra, though main courses always include some sort of garnish.

    EXTRA FEES
    It’s not very common in Hungary, but a waiter may try to charge you extra for a dish you didn’t order or serve you imported bottled beer when all you wanted was ordinary Hungarian draught. If you ask for a pohar (glass) or a korso (half-litre mug) by name and don’t just say ‘beer’ (sor), they’re less likely to try this trick.

    TIPPING
    Always insist on seeing a menu with prices listed to get an idea of how much your meal will cost, and if you’re sure a waiter is deliberately overcharging but it’s only by 10 to 15%, just pay the exact amount without a tip. Some places add a 10% service charge to the bill , which makes tipping unnecessary. Tourist restaurants sometimes feature Gypsy music after 6 p.m. and these roving minstrels are accustomed to receiving tips. Give them 100 Ft and they’ll move to the next table.

    CSARDA
    The ‘csarda’ is an old-style inn or tavern offering traditional fare and wine. ‘Borozo’ denotes a wine bar, ‘pince’ is a beer or wine cellar and a ‘sorozo’ is a pub offering draught beer (csapolt sor) and sometimes meals. The ‘bisztro’ is an inexpensive restaurant that is often self-service (onkiszolgalo). The ‘bufe’ is the cheapest place, although you may have to eat standing at a counter. Pastries, cakes and coffee are served at a ‘cukraszda’, while an ‘eszpresszo’ is a cafe.

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    Danubeside - Good kissing spot :)

    by MedioLatino Written Jun 20, 2005

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    Need some intimate moments but want to enjoy the view of the city and the power of the Danube at the same time? The Danubeside is the answer! :)

    Best place to hang out: between Lanchíd (Chainbridge) and Margit Híd (Margaret Bridge) on the Pest side.

    The steps of love :)

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    The Jewish District

    by budapest8 Written Nov 5, 2005

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    Klauzál tér

    This is the district's largest square and its historic center. A dusty park and renovated playground fill the interior of the square.
    At Klauzál tér 11, you'll find the District Market Hall (Vásárcsarnok)
    One of the half dozen or so great steel-girdered market halls built in Budapest in the 1890s, this one is rather run-down and now houses a Skála grocery store. The entrance area is filled with smaller vendors selling fruit or vegetables.Walk down Dob utca, this is where I live in the week and work when I'm not in Nagykata. I live opposite the Kosher Bolt (shop) next to the Carl Lutz Memorial.On the right, against a cement wall near the corner of Rumbach utca and Dob utca, is the rather bizarre-looking Memorial to Charles Lutz the Swiss consul who aided Wallenberg's heroic attempts to save Budapest's Jews from the Nazi death camps. The inscription from the Talmud reads: "Saving one soul is the same as saving the whole world." Another, rather lonely, memorial to Wallenberg stands on Szilágyi Erzsébet fasor, far away in Buda. Ghetto Wall
    This wall kept Budapest's Jews inside this district during World War II. This is not actually where it stood, however; it was situated on Károly körút, the nearby stretch of the Inner Ring boulevard.
    To the left of the wall, on the spot marked as the birthplace of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, is the National Jewish Museum

    Corner of  Kazinczy utca and Dob utca Dob utca Corner and Kazinczy utca old Jewish Bazza Kazinczy utca Corner of Kazinczy utca facade of building Wesselenyi u
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    The Jewish District Budapest

    by budapest8 Written Nov 5, 2005

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    Head back to Rumbach utca and proceed down that street. Take a right onto Király utca, which forms the northern border of the historic Jewish district. At Király u. 13, head through the long series of:
    Connected courtyards........
    These courtyards emerge onto Dob utca, back in the heart of the Jewish district. This kind of complex -- residential buildings connected by a series of courtyards -- is typical of the Jewish district. As you can readily see, these courtyards are in extremely poor condition, dirty and run-down with graffiti-covered walls and abandoned apartments, though the appearance in recent years of several flashy retail shops may presage a general improvement.
    Take a Break--Frohlich Cukrászda, Dob u. 22, is the only functioning kosher cukrászda (sweet shop) left in the district. Here, you can purchase pastries, rolls, or ice cream. (Be aware that the shop closes for 2 weeks at the end of Aug.)
    Half a block to the left off Dob utca on Kazinczy utca, at no. 41, is the:
    Kosher Salami Workshop (Szalámi és Kolbászáru üzem).
    Salami, famous throughout Hungary, is handmade here with ancient machinery. If you make a purchase, be sure to admire the equally ancient cash register in the corner. The sign outside directing you to the entrance is deceptive; simply enter via the doorway in front of you. Open Monday through Thursday from 8am to 4pm, Friday from 8am to 1pm.
    Back on Kazinczy u., no. 29 is the Orthodox Kazinczy Synagogue
    Built in 1913 and still active, this synagogue is being slowly and beautifully restored. It has a well-maintained and lively courtyard in its center. There are a number of apartments in which members of the Orthodox community live. While hundreds of travelers visit the Dohány each day, far fewer make the trip here.
    Go all the way through the courtyard, emerge onto Dob utca, turn right, and head into Klauzál tér This is the district's largest square and its historic center. A dusty park and renovated playground fill the interior of the square.

    Kazinczy utca Mikve Before a Ghetto now just space for cars
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  • Important Greeting

    by tamasbr Written Dec 14, 2005

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    It is absolutely imperative in Hungary to say, goodmorning, goodafternoon, goodevening before you start any conversation at all; whether you are talking to your best friend or a salesclerk at the metro station! When I first went to Hungary and asked for directions from a Policeman, he became very very upset that I did not greet him properly; Just by saying Can you please,,...... and than thank-you at the end is not good enough!!!!!!!!!! In Hungary, always start with goodmorning, etc. Every other politeness is important, but it will mean nothing if you do not start with the goodmorning, goodafternoon etc.

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    Manners

    by antistar Written Mar 9, 2009

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    The Hungarians are extremely polite people, although you might find it hard to get them to admit to it. They share a number of manners with the Germans, especially the greeting of people in small spaces; expect to have people say "hello" and "hello" to you in elevators as they enter and leave.

    One custom that the Hungarians seem to be crazier on than most is to say "Bon Appetite!", which in Hungarian is "jó étvágyat" (yo ate-vod-yot). If I make the mistake of eating a quick snack in the kitchen at work near leaving time, a stream of Hungarians will walk past, with each one stopping to say "jó étvágyat!" and waiting for a reply.

    Another custom is to let people go ahead of you through doors. Hungarians are so keen on this, that they will stand by a door, right hand extended, in a protracted battle of wills. You may as well give up, as the Hungarian will almost certainly win, and you will have to go through the door first, but it doesn't hurt to show that you understand the rule too.

    Despite all the politeness, the Hungarians are just as bad as other Europeans at queuing, so the British can rest assured that they can enjoy a good tut-tut when they see Hungarians commit all manner of queuing sins. One favourite is to have a friend stand in line with a single loaf of bread, while the other shops, and then returns later to the front of the queue with an overflowing cart full of groceries.

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    Clinking glasses

    by Dabs Written Aug 21, 2005

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    As we were enjoying dinner at Fatal, no sooner had my husband read the section on why you don't clink beer glasses in Hungary from one of our guidebooks, did the people at the table next to us do it (actually they had wine glasses so maybe they were OK).

    The reason why you don't want to clink beer glasses dates back to 1848 during the Hungarian War of Independence when Austrian officers drank beer and cheered while clinking glasses between the execution of some of the Hungarian officers.

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Budapest Local Customs

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