Special Advent traditions of Hungary
Posted by Ágnes Taraszovics · Dec 12, 2014

Lot of customs and traditions bound to the Christmas period, just think about the Christmas tree or the Advent calendars. Now we present three special Hungarian traditions that are related to the pre-Christmas advent period.

Borbála’s Day

Borbála’s day was a significant date to unmarried girls: they put a cherry tree branch to water and if it blossomed before Christmas, it meant that marriage is expected the next year. However, spinning, sewing and sweeping was forbidden on this day, and this time women weren’t welcome guests because according to the superstition they brought bad luck. So there’s a chance that these girls didn’t meet their predicted husband on this day, December 4.


Szentcsalád-járás („Holy Family Walk”)

To name a religious tradition also - after all, Christmas is one of the most important Christian holidays - familiarize ourselves with the “holy family walk” tradition. During this practice related to the advent period the believers took a picture of the Holy Family to a different house every day, at which they prayed and show smaller ceremonies commemorating when the pregnant Virgin Mary and Joseph were looking for an accommodation in Bethlehem. The custom dates from the early 20th century.


Luca's Day

Several traditions are related to Luca’s day, the most famous of these is the Luca’s chair. With the help of this stool the witches could get to be known, and it's also not an accident that this day has this habit: December 13 was named “wicked day” because on this day witches were considered particularly powerful. People had to start carving Luca’s chair on this day. It shall consist of 13 pieces, from different types of wood. It has to be ready for the midnight mass on December 26, because this day men could see the witch standing on Luca’s chair. This couldn’t be difficult, because according to the legend the witches wore horns on this day. But if this hadn’t been quite striking, standing on the Luca’s chair anyone could find out the truth at midnight, after which the young men, however, had to flee quickly prevent the witches to tore them apart. During the escape, people scattered poppy seeds to gain time for release, because witches had to pick it up one by one. Arriving home the chair was thrown into fire, because it meant the end of the witches, and so ensured that the family is protected from all curses through the following year.

cover photo: Advent Feast at the Basilica

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