The traditions of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Hungary are all about bringing luck, fortune, health, wealth and happiness for the coming year. New Year’s Eve is called Szilveszter, as December 31st is Sylvester’s name day and we celebrate name days. New Year’s Eve celebrations in Budapest and across Hungary include big public celebrations, fireworks and partying with wishing everyone a Happy New Year or “Boldog Új Évet Kívánok” (meaning of mosaic word B.Ú.É.K.) in Hungarian.
There are plenty superstitions when it comes to New Year. Here are some strange ones: on New Year’s Eve we have to make as much noise as we can in order to scare away the demons and the evil spirits. Street vendors sell masks and noisemaker objects like paper horns. If you want to be lucky during the year, avoid arguments, don’t do laundry and don’t sew and avoid seeing a doctor on New Year’s Day (January 1st) and you will be healthy all over the year. If you remove anything from the house on New Year’s Day, Hungarians think that you will be penniless all year, so mind what you throw away!
A menu of lucky meals in Hungary has to consist of roasted pork, cold pork aspic (kocsonya), cabbage rolls (töltött káposzta) and lentil soup (lencse leves). Pigs symbolize progress as they root themselves in the ground before pushing forward and this traditionally brings our luck. Lentils or beans refer to wealth and money as their appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked. During or after the party night on New Year’s Eve we usually eat a sour soup with cabbage, sausage and sour cream, (korhely leves) which is useful for treating hangover 🙂
On New Year’s Eve and Day, Hungarians avoid eating chicken and fish. We don’t eat chicken because they scratch backward, and eating any winged fowl is strongly advised against as this could symbolize one’s good luck flying away. Fish is also on the blacklist illustrating luck „swimming away”…