Hungarian Public Holidays

The following table gives information about Hungarian Public Holidays in 2012.

Date English Name Local Name Remarks
1 January New Year’s Day Újév A day of useful superstitions and new beginnings. According to traditions, the lentil soup makes people rich and rolling out strudel dough will guarantee long life. If somebody eats poultry on this day, his luck will fly away.
15 March National Day Nemzeti ünnep Márciusi ifjak (“March youths”), memorial day of the 1848 Revolution. There are usually speeches and music pieces performed; several people wear a cockade with the national colours (red, white and green).
Easter Sunday Húsvétvasárnap Good Friday work-free for Protestants.
Easter Monday Húsvéthétfő Men visit women and ask for permission for sprinkling by reciting a little Easter poem, they sprinkle them with some perfume (or sometimes a bucket of cold water in the countryside), and they get eggs (mostly of chocolate) in exchange. Children get chocolate bunnies and eggs (from the Bunny), and sometimes fruits, nuts etc. as well. They sometimes have to look for these presents in the garden or in their room. (Living bunnies are not infrequent, either.) Mothers often prepare ham, eggs, and sweetbreads for dinner.
1 May Labour day;
anniversary of the accession to the EU
A munka ünnepe The countries of the EU are represented with special programmes, bridges are decorated and exhibitions are arranged.
Pentecost Sunday Pünkösdvasárnap Sunday, 50 days after Easter
Pentecost Monday Pünkösdhétfő Monday after Pentecost
20 August Saint Stephen’s Day Szent István ünnepe St. Stephen’s Day, Foundation of State, “the day of the new bread” as well. St. Stephen of Hungary (Szent István király in Hungarian) (ca. 975 – 15 August 1038), was the first king of Hungary.

Celebrated with a huge half-hour fireworks display on the bank of the Danube in the evening, attended by millions of people.

23 October National Day Nemzeti ünnep The day of the proclamation of the Third Hungarian Republic (since 1989), 1956 Revolution memorial day. Celebrated with speeches and exhibitions.
1 November All Saints Day Mindenszentek It is a day to remember the lost ones. On this day people generally visit all their lost relatives’ graves which they decorate with flowers.
25 December Christmas Karácsony People buy (or make) presents for their relatives and friends in the preceding couple of weeks (so this period is the absolute boom of the year for most stores). Public transport stops operating at about 4 p.m on the 24th (“Szenteste”). Families reunite and people prepare their (labelled) presents under the Christmas tree. It is made of a fir which is decorated by one or two people in the family so nobody else can see it before they signal with a little bell for the rest to come in. The family sings Christmas songs together and everyone unwraps their presents.
On 25th and the 26th, people usually visit their relatives (e.g. aunts, uncles and grandparents) and exchange presents.
26 December Second Day of Christmas Karácsony másnapja