Customs and traditions
A light kiss on both cheeks, the left one
first, is the normal way to greet each other when
Hungarian friends meet. Otherwise, a hand greeting will
suffice, although a man who greets a woman should wait
for her to reach out first.
If you become a home visitor to a Hungarian family as
a foreign visitor, it is advisable to bring, for
example, a box of fine chocolate or a bottle of Western
liquor. Do not come with foreign wine, because it can
hurt the pride of your own Hungarian wine. Flowers are
also a suitable gift, but in that case an odd number,
since an even number is reserved for funerals. But avoid
13, which is an accident number. Lilies, chrysanthemums
and red roses are funerals to avoid.
Overview of the capital city of Hungary, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
At a dinner party you should be on time. A maximum of
five minutes late is considered acceptable. At a more
open event, a half hour margin can be accepted.
Once the food has been served, you should wait until
the host or hostess has started eating before you cut
yourself in. Keep your hands visible, not on your knees,
and do not rest your elbows on the table. Many dishes,
and many accessories, are often served, and you should
at least taste everything. Whoever is the guest of the
dinner is expected to bring out the first dish and wish
everyone's well-being. Wineglasses are usually filled up
as soon as it is empty, so anyone who does not want more
should leave a small slab. When toasting with the table
neighbors, it is common to tap the wine glasses lightly
against each other. However, it is not considered nice
to put together beer glasses.
Even though dinner is related to a business deal,
business issues should be left to rest after dinner.
Rather spend your meal talking about sports, culture or
Hungarian wines - but not politics or religion.
Conversations, whether private or business, are often
straightforward. You say what you think, albeit in a
polite tone, and keep eye contact with the opposing
party. Anyone who shuts their eyes can be suspected of
having something to hide or being bored. It's pretty odd
to have your hand in your pants pocket when talking to
someone. If, on the other hand, you want to use gestures
to emphasize a perception, it should be remembered that
it is considered vulgar to turn the thumb down, as well
as to tie the fist with the thumb between the index
finger and the middle finger.
Hungary's most well-known contribution to the art of
cooking is probably the paprika powder, which is
featured in many dishes. The dish most associated with
Hungarian cuisine is goulash (gulyás),
a stew of beef, peppers, potatoes and other vegetables
that has spread to almost all of Europe. With more
liquid, the goulash casserole turns into soup. Pork with
rice, also as a long-cooked stew, is popular, as is
chicken with paprika and crčme fraiche, paprikás
csirke. Potatoes and rice often form the basis of a
dish, but even more common are different kinds of
noodles or other dough accessories. Hungarian food can
be high in calories and is always filling.
Among desserts are pancakes, perhaps with honey or
walnuts, popular, as well as other sweet pastries, fruit
compotes or cold fruit soups on, for example, peach or
In Hungary, wine has been grown for thousands of
years. Most famous are the red Egri Bikavér and
the sweet white wines, the Tokai, from the
Tokaj district in northeastern Hungary. Among the
stronger alcoholic beverages are the fruit brandy
pálinka, often made on apricots (barack palinka).
Although far from all Hungarians are particularly
religious, they, like the Swedes, celebrate all the
Christian weekends but with a rather profane tone. For
young people, Easter is the highlight of the day,
husvéthétfő, when boys and young men walk around
the neighbors spraying water or cheap perfume over the
girls after reading a little poem that the girl is like
a sweet flower that must be watered so as not to wither.
As a "reward", the boys receive sweets, such as
The Christmas celebration is similar to Swedish with
good food, Christmas tree and Christmas presents which,
like in Sweden, are distributed on Christmas Eve. In
addition, the children will receive some simpler
Christmas presents already on December 6, when the site
Szent Miklós (St. Nikolaus) can visit. Although
the Hungarian plot looks more like a bishop, he has the
same task of keeping track of which children have been
kind during the year.
Hungary has two national days, nemzeti
ünnep. March 15 remembers the revolution in 1848
when the Hungarians rose to Austria. It is a solemn day
with memorials and music, and many people adorn
themselves with a cocktail in the Hungarian colors red,
white and green. On October 23, both the proclamation of
the Third Hungarian Republic in 1989 and the 1956
popular uprising are celebrated.
May 1 is both the traditional working day and the
memory of Hungary's entry into the EU 2004.
On St. Stephen's Day on August 20, Szent István
király, Hungary's first king (c. 975–1038), is
celebrated with a magnificent fireworks display on the
Danube beach in Budapest.
The Hungarians are avid carnival riders. The most
famous carnival, Father Song, takes place in
the city of Mohács at the bottom of the south, where
participants dress in fur costumes and wear grotesque
masks to scare away Turkish invasion forces. In Budapest
there are also masquerade and more formal bales during
the carnival, which is also an opportunity to chill in
food like pork with sauerkraut and flounder donuts.
In Budapest, every year a festival dedicated to the
wool pig, mangalica, is held, the pig which is
known for its tasty meat. Sausages and other dishes made
from mangalica pork are served, there is a competition
to cook mangalica in the best way, and there are folk
dances and drinking Hungarian spirits.
Death attack against Roma
A Roman woman is killed and her teenage daughter is seriously shot in another
assault by the right-wing group known as the Death Patrol. A few weeks later,
four suspected men are arrested in the city of Debrecen. The house search
suggests that the group planned more murders of Roma.
Tear gas against right-wing extremists
Police use tear gas to stop a demonstration in central Budapest by Jobbik's
banned semi-military branch, the Hungarian Guard. The guard
claims to protect Hungarians against crimes committed by Roma and often
demonstrates in Roman-dominated areas.
New socialist leader
The Socialist Party changes leaders again, new chair becomes Attila
Right victorious in EU elections
In the election to the European Parliament, the ruling socialists suffer
defeat, while the opposition party Fidesz has great success. In
a time of rising unemployment, the extremist nationalist and anti-Roman party
Jobbik is progressing strongly, taking up close to 15 percent
of the vote three seats in Brussels.
New Prime Minister
The ruling Hungarian Socialist Party and the Liberal
Wave Master Party The Peace Democrats nominate the partyless Minister
of Industry Gordon Bajnai as new government leader. Before being formally
approved by Parliament, tens of thousands of people in Budapest are
demonstrating against the cuts already made and against Bajnai's warnings for
even tougher measures. The new head of government presents a tightening package
with budget cuts, tax increases and freezing of public wages.
Right-wing extremists kill Roman man
Anti-Roma right-wing extremists kill a 53-year-old man in the town of
Gas agreement with Russia
Hungary and Russia conclude an agreement for part of the South Stream gas
pipeline to be built on Hungarian land. They will also agree to build an
underground gas storage facility in Hungary, intended to make the country a
center for Russian gas supplies.
The Prime Minister resigns
After protracted and harsh popular criticism of cuts in welfare systems,
Ferenc Gyurcsány decides to resign as prime minister. He has been accused of
standing in the way of a solution to the economic crisis. He also resigns as
leader of the Socialist Party and succeeds in that post by Ildikó Lendvai.
Right-wing extremist attack against Roma
A 28-year-old Roman man and his five-year-old son are shot to death by
right-wing extremists in the village of Tatárszentgyörgy. In 2008, the same
group attacked several other Roma residential areas and killed two people.