With Mikulás Nap right around the corner and the importance of planning ahead for holiday baking, we want to encourage you to be thinking about how you share your Hungarian heritage during December. Food is often present at holiday gatherings and sharing family recipes is a natural way to pass on some wonderful Hungarian tastes. If you don’t have the tradition of Hungarian cooking in your family, now is a great time to start something new! Gather together a few family members or friends to bake some special Hungarian treats! If you already have some Hungarian traditions in your holidays please share by commenting below. We know there are many creative and sweet ideas out there–so let’s encourage one another by sharing!
December 6th is the Name Day for Miklós, and children especially love this day because for them it is Mikulás Nap. Children shine their shoes or boots then put them outside on the evening of December 5th. On December 6th, St. Nicholas Day, the children awaken to find their shoes filled by the Hungarian Santa, called Mikulás, (Mee-ku-lash). If the child has been good, Mikulás leaves the boot filled with goodies – traditionally with candies, tangerines, walnuts, apples, dates and chocolate Mikulás figurines. Also, most children get small toys and books. If the child has been a little bad, the boot will contain a bundle of twigs (like a “switch”). If the child has been naughty, then they get lumps of coal or potatoes. Since no child is all good or all bad, most get the switch and the treat. There is no Mrs. Santa in Hungary, but Mikulás often travels with one or two small evil goblins, called krampusz (kromm-puhs).
December 13th is the name day of Luca. There are many folk customs and superstitions associated with this day. For girls, many customs related to Luca Nap can foretell something about their future husband. Another custom for Luca Nap is related to money. If you want to be rich in the coming year, don’t spend even one penny on the 13th! But if someone gives you money on that day, it means luck for you. People may also sow wheat into a cup on Luca Nap. If your wheat grows in thick and high by December 24th, it means that you will be prosperous in the coming year.
Hungarian Christmas Ornaments
Decorating your Christmas tree with handcrafted items from Hungary is another way of sharing and remembering some of the rich traditions of the Hungarian heritage. We offer embroidered, reverse applique, and straw spun ornaments. Each technique represents generations of talents and would be a wonderful keepsake. Even the simple Hungarian Christmas candy, szaloncukor, has been a part of Hungarian Christmas tradition for many, many years. Some families even endeavor to make their own, saving wrappers from previous years and reusing them. Sneaky children and adults make their way to the tree to get a piece of chocolate when no one is around and sometimes try to replace the candy in the wrapper with a piece of tissue so it appears candy is still in the wrapping. The surprise comes when it is time to take done the tree and every szaloncukor wrapper is actually empty of candy! Be sure to visit The Hungarian Store to order delicious szaloncukor and Christmas ornaments made in Hungary as well as many gift ideas!
Hungarian Christmas Caroling
When I was growing up in Youngstown, Ohio each year members from one of our local Hungarian churches would stop in and sing Hungarian Christmas carols outside our home during the Christmas season. While there seem to be less and less Hungarian congregations in the U.S. every year, gathering a group of people together to sing Christmas carols in Hungarian could be a fun project! Maybe you know some people who enjoy singing and would learn a few Hungarian Christmas carols this Christmas season for people who might truly appreciate them. I suspect there are many aging Hungarian speakers in the US either homebound, in an assisted living facility or in a nursing home who might appreciate hearing their native tongue!
Here are two of my favorite Hungarian Christmas carols. We also carry a collection of Hungarian Christmas carols with the music and words in both English and Hungarian ORDER HERE!
Mennyből az angyal (God’s Glorious Angel)
Mennyből az angyal lejött hozátok
Hogy Bethlehembe sietve menvén
God’s glorious angel comes down before you
Shepherds wake! Shepherds wake!
Bethlehem calls you, Jesus is born
For your sake, for your sake.
Pásztorok, pásztorok (Come Shepherds)
Pásztorok, pásztorok örvendezve
Sietnek Jézushoz Bethlehembe
Köszöntést mondanak a kisdednek.
Kiváltságot hozott az embernek.
Come shepherds, joyfully, come one and all.
Hasten to Jesus in Bethlehem’s stall.
Give thanks and praise to the child that you find.
He is the Savior for all of mankind.
Kellemes Karácsonyi Ünnepeket és B.U.E.K. (Boldog Új Évet Kivánok)! Pleasant Christmas Holidays and Happy New Year!
Liz and Don Vos
We are a second-generation family business that began in 1988. Our mission is to provide you with resources and encouragement to discover, celebrate, and share your Hungarian heritage with friends and family! To receive our free product catalog or learn about our tours to Hungary and Transylvania, please email [email protected] or call us at 1-800-786-7851.