What is Hungarian Living?
On this episode of the podcast I am going to explain a bit about the concept behind the phrase Hungarian Living and why we use it.
Hello! It’s Liz and today we are talking about the term “Hungarian Living”. Why we use it, what we mean by it, and why you might want to endeavor to add more Hungarian Living you’re your life!
A little bit about my background.
All of my great grandparents came from Hungary and three of my four grandparents were born there. Maintaining a connection to their Hungarian heritage was very natural for them. They brought their habits, recipes, language, and perspective with them when they moved to the United States from Hungary. And here they lived their life with Hungarian influence. My grandparents married other Hungarians. They joined Hungarian organizations and churches. They regularly connected with others who were Hungarian.
And they raised their children with the foods and the language and the culture that they knew best. And then my parents married one another, both similarly raised, surrounded by Hungarian culture in the United States. Of course, the English language became a part of their world when they went off to school even though Hungarian was their first language. They also adapted their recipes since some of the things available in Hungary were not available in the U.S.
As I was growing up, I distinctly remember knowing that we were Hungarian. We sang Hungarian folk songs and attended Hungarian churches. We heard Hungarian Christmas carols and we said the common table prayer in Hungarian every Sunday. We heard the language frequently. I danced in a Hungarian dance group—God Bless Mrs. Fabian for the years of teaching little bunnies how to do some Hungarian dances.
In fact, I just went down a rabbit hole and found an interview Mrs. Fabian did for an oral history project for Youngstown State University. If you want to read it, send me an email at [email protected] and I will send it to you.
So, here I am, not married to someone with Hungarian heritage, although he is all for it! He supports me in one thousand ways as we endeavor to share Hungarian (and German and Dutch) heritage with our kids and grandkids.
So, Hungarian Living – it’s what you do when you incorporate Hungarian food, music, language, folk art, and culture into your life – particularly if you don’t live in Hungary. We don’t live in a region with a lot of Hungarian culture, so we have to create our own. And it is imperfect – as expected. When concepts and teachings get passed down from generation to generation there is always something lost. Sometimes it is the “why we do this” and sometimes it is “the what” that we do. In this day and age, and after 100 years of living in the United States, with all the distractions of life, if you are doing anything to promote Hungarian heritage and culture within your family, I am giving you a HIGH FIVE! No, make that a HIGH TEN!
It isn’t easy. It can be intimidating. And there are always going to be people who have an opinion about what you are doing and how you are doing it.
I just want to encourage you to express your Hungarian heritage in the ways that are meaningful to you. Maybe it is through genealogy or through a trip to Hungary. Maybe you are using a language app on your phone to learn some Hungarian. Maybe you live near a Hungarian church or club and you support them by attending events, buying their dinners, or maybe even helping out in the kitchen!
By the way, that is a great way to pick up some cooking techniques! Just be willing to go in and learn as you help. Even if you are an experienced cook, the club cooks often have their own way of doing things and it is best to just offer to assist.
Our podcast is one of the ways we encourage people to connect with their Hungarian heritage. We have almost 100 episodes and they cover a wide variety of topics. You can follow us on your favorite podcast app or just go right to HungarianLiving.com
And while we are talking about the Hungarian Living website, be sure to check out all the resources we have there. IF you are looking for some recipes or folk art/craft projects, check out HungarianLiving.com We also have a place where we post the Hungarian events we know about – mainly in the US, of course, because that is where we are based. But if live outside of the US and you have an event you would like us to promote, we are happy to do that! Just send the information to [email protected]
So, back to the topic. What is Hungarian Living? It is living out and sharing your heritage in the ways that are meaningful to you. If you are a writer, you might incorporate Hungarian topics in the things you write. If you are an artist, you might incorporate Hungarian folk art themes in the things you create. If you love to be in the kitchen, you might learn towards learning about and making heritage foods. For me, this meant learning how to make pork cracklings. It’s actually pretty simple. And, that reminds me, I have some lard in my freezer that needs to be rendered. I will have to get on that when I get back from Hungary.
You don’t have to move to Hungary. And you don’t have to do something Hungarian every day. But, if you focus on adding something Hungarian to your life once a month, you will find that you have added 12 things over the course of a year. And, little by little, it adds up. My kids were not in the middle of Hungarian things half as much as I was as I grew up and yet they love their Hungarian heritage. Passing it on within the family isn’t so hard. I don’t want the Hungarian part of my family to get lost. As it is, some parts of it have been dormant. But, the seeds are there. They just need to be nourished and tended to. It is worth it to pass it on. But be aware, sometimes it skips generations. And, sometimes your direct descendants won’t care, but your siblings, nieces, nephews, and cousins will be delighted!
Think about where you are in your Hungarian journey and start where you are. And find those things that are interesting and meaningful and start exploring them. You never know where it will take you, but you won’t get there if you don’t keep moving forward. We are here to help you do exactly that. Our resources are in English. Because, after 100 years, I am not proficient in Hungarian. And, even if I was, it would be my great grandparents Hungarian and I guarantee you there have been language challenges through the years.
Thanks for listening! Please share this podcast with a friend or family member who loves their Hungarian heritage!