May 06, 2024 09:46
7 ways to celebrate May in Hungary

If you are an international student in Hungary, you must know that in May Hungarians have several traditions and events to celebrate. From May trees, through Mother’s Day, until Children’s Day, there are numerous programmes to visit during the whole month. Check out our list!

1st May: Setting the May tree

Have you heard about the famous springtime custom called setting up the May tree? If a woman got a May tree from a man, it meant that the man is courting to win her heart and they are planning their future together. As tradition goes, a group of young men gather on the last night of April to find a young tree and to decorate it with colourful ribbons, fruits, and sweets. The tree may reach up to 8-10 meters and the whole process is done in darkness during the night to be a surprise for the next day. If you want to read more in the topic, check out our previous article here!

1st May: Labour Day

Another important event at the same day is Labour Day, which is also a public holiday dedicated to celebrating the achievements of the labour movement. From the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, it became an important date world-wide. Today, many museums, cultural institutions, and historical sites offer exhibitions and educational programs, not to mention a special Hungarian event called Majális, which is organized in most cities around the country. Check out your local city’s programmes for more information!

5th May: Mother’s Day

In Hungary, Mother’s Day, also known as „Anyák napja”, is a cherished occasion when children express their gratitude towards their mother. The date of this special event varies from year to year, but officially it is celebrated on the first Sunday of May. It is not a public holiday, but it is widely celebrated around the whole country with various gifts such as chocolate, flowers, perfume, jewellery, or a card with heartfelt messages.

9-12th May: Budapest100

Budapest100 is a unique cultural event celebrated annually in the capital of Hungary. The architectural-cultural festival’s aim is to celebrate communities, the city and to bring city dwellers and neighbours closer by opening some hidden and special buildings of Budapest to the public. The event is organized during the weekend and this year’s theme will focus on the buildings of the 1970s. Check out the whole list of buildings including residential buildings, housing estates, research centres, univerisities, and astronomical observatories.

Spring festivals around the country

Through the whole month, Hungary hosts several spring festivals around the country. One of the most popular celebration takes place in the capital, called Budapest Spring Festival, which is a cultural occasion between 29th April and 12th May, featuring classical music, opera, ballet, or with regional events with folk traditions. The celebration takes place over 30 locations with 40 events. If you live in the countryside and search for programmes, check in to Pálinkafesztivál at Gyula between 17-19th May or Szegedi Borfesztivál between 16-26th May, which are also gastronomy fests and you can try traditional Hungarian dishes like Gulyás, Lángos or Kürtőskalács.

19th May: Pentecost

Pentecost, or „Pünkösd” is a two-day Christian holiday in Hungary, usually held on the 50th day after Easter. The day commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames to the Apostoles. It is celebrated with church services, family gatherings and outdoor activities and it’s the time of renewal and the start of spring. It is the perfect time to pause and take a little time for yourself too!

Last Sunday in May (26 May): Children’s Day

Children’s day is also known as „Gyereknap”, celebrating their rights, well-being and happiness each year on the last Sunday of May. There are numerous activities and programmes around the whole country especially organised for kinds, many of them are free of charge. Be prepared that there will be lots of children and parents around the parks and outdoor places.

All in all, May is the time of celebration and renewal and Hungarians embrace the spirit of spring with happiness and enthusiasm. As an international student, you can choose from several activities in May to experience Hungarian traditions and to visit unknown places that you haven’t seen before. Enjoy your time in Hungary and participate in traditional festives, explore the outdoors, or enjoy Hungarian gastronomy during the events.

Links and sources: ; , ; ; Children's day

Sources of the picturesWikipedia ; Pixabay

News archive