In the Christian calendar Easter (Húsvét in Hungarian) celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and marks the end of lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts forty days. In Hungary Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are public holidays.
There are many customs and traditions surrounding Easter and most of them are about celebrating spring and rebirth.
Egg painting is one of the oldest traditions, in fact it’s older than Hungary – painted eggs were found in some graves dating back to the pre-Magyar times. The technique was refined over the centuries and each region developed its unique and distinctive motives. Egg decorating became a form of art and it’s still part of the Easter celebrations today. Traditional Easter meals include boiled smoked ham, horseradish, boiled eggs, potato salad and Easter bread.
On Easter Sunday the Easter bunny brings presents for the kids, which they have to find during the Easter egg hunt. Traditionally on Easter Monday the boys visited the girls, recited a poem and doused them with buckets of water to ensure they become good wives and bare many children. This tradition has both Christian and pagan roots. In exchange for the dousing the girls would reward their visitors with Easter eggs, chocolate treats and a shot of pálinka. Today, perfume is sprinkled on the women instead of water.
The Easter Market on Vörösmarty tér is a great place to find some Easter-themed arts and crafts. Similarly to the annual Christmas Market, traditional Hungarian foods like kürtöskalács and lángos, roasted meats, fried sausages and other delicacies are also part of the offerings.
When: 2014 event dates haven't been finalized yet
Where: Vörösmarty tér
Easter in Buda Castle is all about traditions, art, culture and gastronomy. Activities include folk crafts, Easter egg painting, a petting zoo for the kids, live folk music and dance performances.
When: Apr 19 - Apr 21, 2014 (10 am to 11 pm)
Where: Buda Castle's Hunyadi Courtyard and Savoya Terrace
The annual Easter Market at the Museum of Ethnography is always a lot of fun. It includes vendors offering Easter-themed arts and crafts, Easter egg painting, various kids programs and handicraft workshops.
When: usually held on Palm Sunday, a week before Easter (10 am to 6 pm)
Where: Museum of Ethnography, Kossuth Lajos tér 12, Budapest 1055
The Budapest Zoo and the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture, both located in City Park, have each year special programs for Easter. The 'Green Easter' at the Budapest Zoo and the annual 'Easter Exhibit and Spring Celebrations' at the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture (Apr 12 - 22, 2014) are ideal for families with kids.
Where: City Park
For Easter celebrations outside Budapest check out our post on Must Do Easter Programs in Hungary.