By Timea S.
My husband and I are Hungarians from Transylvania (Romania) and our children were born in US. They are bilingual and enjoy the Hungarian traditions. This tradition of decorating Easter Eggs with beeswax is still alive in Hungary and Transylvania, and we try to keep it alive in my family as well in Pennsylvania. Most of the time, the kids help me with this tradition. I say most of the time, because the dye I use is permanent, the beeswax needs to be warmed up with a candlelight, and the eggs are fragile.
The Hungarian Easter tradition is somewhat different than the American tradition. We would decorate the Easter Eggs for a very important reason, Easter Monday. The egg decoration would vary as not everyoneknew how to decorate with beeswax. For example, my mother would boil and dye the eggs. I didn’t learn the art until I worked at the Hungarian Cultural Center at Bethlen Communities in Ligonier, PA. In other aspects, like for example the main dinner course and church services, the American and Hungarian traditions are similar.
Easter Monday “egg hunting” was different in Hungary and in European countries. Adults and children dressed up nicely and got ready for a busy day. The girls stood home, dressed up, and prepared drinks and snacks for their guest. The decorated Easter Eggs would be part of the preparations, and usually, were placed in a nice basket. The men and boys got their suits on, or a nice attire, and grabbed the perfumes to go visit the ladies. I remember that my sister and I used to have mixed feelings about this tradition as young girls, because by the end of the day, we would get “watered” with so many perfumes, that we would get nauseated. We laughed about it and loved it, of course.
The ”watering” of the ladies was the symbolic act on Easter Monday. The ladies symbolized the flowers and the men and boys, the gardeners. So, Easter Monday turned into a beautiful garden with flowers and kind and gentle gardeners. The men would visit their lady friends and families and they would say an Easter Watering poem and ask the ladies if it was all right with them to get “watered” which was a symbolic act for carrying for the flowers throughout the year, so they remained beautiful and fresh. My mother, sister, and I never said no and felt delighted and appreciated. In return of the nice gesture, the ladies offered the Easter Eggs as a gift to men and boys. After this ceremony was over, we would invite the men into our
house and served them with snacks and drinks. As young girls, we would count how many boys came to visit and “watered” us. One time, I remember, we had over 60 visitors. It was one of my favorite Hungarian/Transylvanian traditions. Until this day, my husband and son would “water” me, my daughter, and my mother-in-law in US as well. And, they do have to recite an Easter Watering poem in order to earn the most beautiful Hungarian Easter Eggs.
Interested in learning how to do decorate eggs with this technique? Send an email to [email protected] and we will let you know when the online class is scheduled!