Easter is a religious Christian feast celebrated across the world. The holy occasion commemorates Jesus Christ’s resurrection and the commencement of the spring season. The small country of Hungary marks Easter as one of the most important holidays. A number of interesting folk customs are still alive in the country, which make the festivities more joyous and colorful.

The Hungarians regard „Lent” as the Great Fast for Easter. Since during Lent eating meat is forbidden, on Holy Saturday whorshippers take food baskets filled with „kalács” (milk-loaf), red eggs and salt to the church, to be blessed by the clergyman. The blessed food is then eaten by the devotes, right after the resurrection ceremonies finished. The major Hungarian delicacies prepared on Easter include smoked ham with hard-boiled eggs and pickled horseradish. Other meat dishes consisting of pork, poultry, rabbit, roast lamb or beef and meat loaf are also prepared that are garnished distinctively. Spring vegetables, such as lettuce, green onions and cucumber are used to complement the food. For desserts, you have beigli (a sweet cake with a ground walnut or poppy-seed filling rolled up in the shape of a Swiss roll) and the Easter brioche or fresh milk loaf with dried fruits. The tables are decorated with baskets full of hand-painted eggs in different colors and styles. Colorful spring flowers like daffodils, tulips and pussies are used for decorating tables.

Easter egg decoration is an old folk tradition, which Hungarians participate in every year, though the custom lives not only in Hungary!. Eggs are magnificently decorated, ranging from very simple décor to complex ones. The folk patterns traditionally are drawn on the eggs by using molten wax. This technique of „egg writing” became an applied art, resulting real masterpieces also today. Eggs are also painted. The painting liquid is traditionally made from onion skin, green walnut, wild pear or any other vegetable that yield natural color. Most of the painted eggs are traditionally red. Patterns of egg paintings can very from  region to region, following the old folkpatterns, flowers, fottmarks of animals, as hen, goat, cock, geometric patterns and idealized plant motifs.

Preparing „shoed egg” is a real Hungaricum, which need a true learning, manual skill and a lot of patience. According to the oral traditions, egg shoeing was “invented” by village blacksmithes, how wanted  to prove their skills by creating an egg, which was shoed by miniature horseshoes. Shoeing eggs became an Eastern folk tradition then. The current world recorder of egg shoeing is naturally a Hungarian, named József  Koszpek, who used 1119 pieces of miniature shoes in decorating an ostrich shell. Koszpek also holds various related records: 34 pieces of iron on a shoed parrot egg, 146 pieces of iron on shoed hen eggs, 35 pieces of iron on shoed goose eggs, and 598 pieces of iron on shoed emu eggs.

Easter in Hungary has it’s own traditions – some of them having their roots both in Christianity and in ancient pagan rites. Some of these customs are really strange: for example, if you visit such village museums as Skanzen at Szentendre or the traditional village of Hollókő at Easter time, you can witness men pouring water on women. Only with good intensions, as the aim of this tradition is to preserve the beauty and youth of the latter. A more presentable form of this is when men sprinkle cologne water on the ladies, often reciting funny short verses at the same time and presented with Easeter eggs, sweets, pálinka or even money in return.