Back in the summer of 2006/07, which seems like ages ago, I finally convinced the hubby to take a few weeks from work, so “he” the kids and I could finally visit all my relatives in Hungary. After the countless stories that I had to tell and repeat back and forth; between all the parties involved, the time had come to “meet the family!”
Was I worried? No not really. I pretty much knew what to expect and the hubby had met my mom, dad and siblings years ago. The boy’s would be there with me for a month and he would follow the last two weeks of our summer vacation; then we would fly back home together. Easy enough… Everyone knows by now when someone assumes “easy enough” that usually means something like “ass of you and me.”
Hungarian’s have many traditions and rituals they hold very sacred. They range from holidays to proper table manners and what to expect when you’re expecting (or not). I’m going to chronicle a bit of that in this post! (with some recently found pictures “FINALLY” and words; lets call it a guide with some humor thrown in for good measure.
(Another note: The images you see below do not show any relations to real persons/likeness, or stereotypical behaviors, etc., etc…..or something like that.) 🙂
To begin with do not be surprised that family members make it a point to invade the airport in hordes (no pun intended) upon hearing about your arrival. That airport would be Budapest Ferihegy; renamed in 2011 as Ferenc Liszt International Airport (some are still catching up with the name change.) After a pretty quick “customs” check <–insert a chuckle here, the waving begins. We’re here, look at me, hello….we’ve been waiting for you! Now, if you’re one of those people who are not the touchy feel type, get over it before you disembark the plane. When those glass arrival doors open you’re on your own.
Hello, Szia…bear hugs, squeezes, cheek grabbing and cheek kissing! When you’re family, especially you guys, this is traditional and customary. If you have pre-teen boys, I would recommend letting them know before hand….no way around it.
Meals…..expect to eat at each relatives house; spread out the visits I always say. They roll out the red carpet so to speak. It’s a source of pride to make your guests feel at home, so don’t eat before hand! On many occasions my (immediate) family would look at me with that “more food” expression on their face. I just smiled and said, “yup” in English. Is there a yup in English? Try to sample everything at least… Or like I did, lie to my boys about what exactly they were eating. Of course that isn’t chicken hearts and gizzards….it’s just chopped funny. Remember to bring your host something. Could be traditional flowers or wine, or something from where you live. Seriously you’d be surprise how far a pack of fancy napkins goes; it’s coveted comity… I’ve seen Christmas napkins at birthday celebrations that people didn’t even want to use because they thought it was so pretty! No joke!
Keep your glass a minimum of 1/2 to 3/4th full; if not others will do it for you. So if you don’t feel like having that tenth extra shot of celebratory palinka, take heed or hide your shot glass.
Hungarian’s are a little “extreme” so to speak in the things they do. Eat, drink and be merry mode——-> (as my family discovered)
No matter what country you live in, the male bonding ritual is a key element during social gathering.
and cheers are a good thing. Be sure to have loose change on you, no monopoly money here. (Tarokk)
You bring the “pot” because we have the meat and vegetables. Someone chop the wood, and keep an eye on the fire; while he breaks out the video camera to record it all! After dinner, dessert, drinks and more drinks and cards usually someone displaces their shoes. Slippers are always your best option.
Plenty of photo ops to come and everyone is more than happy to pose for pictures! Sadly the results are always the same….someone asleep!! It’s okay though, we still have tomorrow and other adventures!