Good Friday and Easter Monday are major holidays in Hungary, and there are many customs practiced that are associated with the paschal season.
|2020||10 Apr||Fri||Good Friday|
|13 Apr||Mon||Easter Monday|
|2021||2 Apr||Fri||Good Friday|
|5 Apr||Mon||Easter Monday|
Hungary’s Easter customs tend to be more cultural than religious and often celebrate the onset of spring. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues 40 days until the fast is broken on Easter Sunday. Meat is not to be consumed during Lent, and the eve of Ash Wednesday is called “Hushagyo Kedd” (meat-abandoning Tuesday).
On Palm Sunday, it was once common for both branches and flowers to be blessed by the priests. Nowadays, the various flowers are still mentioned in prayers during church ceremonies, and Palm Sunday is still known as “Flower Sunday” in Hungary.
On Holy Saturday, people bring baskets full of “kalacs” (Easter Bread), red-dyed eggs, and salt to church so a priest can bless the food, which is then taken home and eaten for dinner after the midnight Resurrection service. These services will have various Easter songs, prayers, and sometimes, processions with statutes of Jesus.
In Hungary, egg painting is a tradition that derives from times prior even to the arrival of the Magyars. After Hungary became Christian, eggs were dyed red to symbolise the shed blood of Christ, and the eggs themselves were said to represent everlasting life.
For the last 300 years or so, however, eggs have been dyed other colours besides red. Easter egg decoration is a veritable art form in Hungary. Geometric designs, shapes of plants and flowers, and patterns taken from traditional Hungarian embroidery are most common. Sometimes, very ancient designs like sun-wheels and young cocks are also used.