A couple of years ago, I was able to visit Mohács, Hungary during the Carnival season. Carnival — Farsang, in Hungarian, marks the end of winter. Some of the celebration is connected to fertility as well as the destruction of Old Man Winter. There is a lot of fun and food during the day and, in the evening, there is a huge bonfire as everyone says good-bye to winter and sets their sights on spring.
In the Christian world, the Carnival celebration begins on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminates on the day before Ash Wednesday (known as Shrove Tuesday). Ash Wednesday is the beginning of a long fasting period for Christians during the period of time leading up to Easter, known as Lent. Some Christians still practice food fasting during this time as well as “fasting” from undesirable behaviors.
In the USA, the day before Ash Wednesday is often referred to as Fat Tuesday and it is recognized as a day of indulgence. While it often has a connection to the church, not everyone who celebrates it does so for religious reasons. Also, not every celebration during this time is based on religious reasons.
It can be a little dicey in Mohács during the Busójárás (Busó walk) but, that is probably just my perspective. There is a long parade and the festival is a lot of fun. Street food and folk artisans show their offerings and there are folk dance demonstrations and re-enactments all around town. The mulled wine (forralt bor) is plentiful! It is certainly a festive atmosphere. And, as expected, there is a bit of overindulgence. It was fun to be there, though it was definitely PG-13 or higher. I would never take small children there and I am not sure I would like to be there with my adult children either!
To be fair, I haven’t been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. But, I am pretty sure it isn’t my cup of tea. I am fairly conservative and I am not a fan of huge crowds, unbridled drinking, and a lot of innuendos. While the origins of Mardi Gras and the Busó Festival are different, they definitely have some similarities in their festivals.
In 2009, this festival was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity! Learn more about the Buso festivities in Mohacs HERE!
For info on Mardi Gras, CLICK HERE!
In several strong Hungarian communities in the USA, there are a number of Carnival Balls that occur in February. Many who grew up in Hungarian communities remember the delicious doughnuts~ fánk, in Hungarian, made by the church ladies. CLICK HERE for a recipe for fánk!
Mohács and Barany County are interesting to visit any time of year. We have visited the Busó Museum, the potter who makes black ceramics (see video below), the memorial battlefield to the Battle of Mohács, and the human powered watermill. We love to spend time in this region! Come with us next time!
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