Hungary celebrates New Year’s Day with a public holiday every 1 January, as does most of the rest of the world. However, the celebrations really begin on New Year’s Eve and reach a high point with the turning of the clock from 11:59pm on 31 December to midnight on 1 January.
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New Year’s Day is a time of resolutions and starting fresh for some, while for others it is spent recovering from a big, late night spent with friends and family.
Hungary has numerous New Year’s Day customs that are built around the idea of starting the new year with a touch of good luck. Superstitions of all kinds are worked into the very fabric of the holiday here.
Traditionally, people will band, clang, shout, and make a hubbub of noise to scare away the evil spirits on New Year’s Eve. They will also avoid causes of bad luck like doing the laundry, getting into an argument, sewing, seeing the doctor, or removing any objects from your house.
Eating a lucky meal of roast pork, pork jelly, cabbage rolls, and lentil soup is sure to make for a healthy, wealthy new year! But don’t eat chicken for New Year’s since chickens could scratch off all your good luck. And fish must be avoided because fish may decide the swim away with all the luck you gathered up by following the other traditions!