|Full country name: Hungary
Capital city: Budapest
Currency: Hungarian forint
Dialing code: 36
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
|1 January: New Year’s Day
||15 March: Anniversary of 1848 uprising against Austrian rule
||(Xth) April: Easter Monday
|1 May: Labor Day
||(Xth) May: White Monday
||20 August: National Day (Feast of St Stephen)
|23 October: Republic Day (Anniversary of 1956)
||1 November: All Saints’ Day
||25-26 December: Christmas
Hungary is a kidney-shaped country lying in the center of Europe, in the Carpathian Basin surrounded by the Carpathians and the Alps; it shares borders with seven neighbors: Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. The territory of the country is 93,030 square kilometers, covering about 1 per cent of Europe. It measures about 250 kilometers from north to south and 524 kilometers from east to west. There are three basic topographies: the low-lying regions of the Great Plain in the east, center and southeast, and the Little Plain in the northwest; the northern mountain ranges, which include Hungary's highest peak (the 1015m/3330ft-high Kékestető); and the hilly regions of Transdanubia in the west and south-west. The biggest rivers are the Danube, and the Tisza, which divide the country into thirds, and the Dráva, which forms the southwestern border with Croatia.
The country has over 1000 lakes - the largest, Balaton, is strewn with thermal springs. At almost 600 square kilometers, Balaton, a popular tourist destination, is the largest lake in CEE.
Hungary is situated in the temperate zone on the borderline of, and affected by, three large climatic zones: oceanic, continental and Mediterranean. Hungary gets all four seasons, from sweltering summers to bone-chilling winters. However, the country is relatively flat and surrounded by mountain ranges, so it tends to be less frigid than the neighboring countries.
Hungarian Language Schools for Foreigners
Address 1: 1065 Budapest, Bajcsy-Zsilinszky street. 29/4th floor
Tel.: +36 1 475 20 50
Fax: +36 1 475 20 59
Address 2: 1052 Budapest, Váci u. 11/b 4th floor
Tel.: +36 1 266 33 44
Fax: +36 1 486 21 35
Hungarian Language School (HLS)
Address: 1088 Budapest, Bródy S. u. 4.
Tel: +36 1 266 26 17
Fax: +36 1 266 48 16
Traditions and events
||Easter is a 2-day holiday in Hungary. On Monday boys and men visit all of their women relatives, friends, and neighbors. Boys in small groups, fathers with their sons, or single men leave early in the morning and their "tour" lasts all day long. They greet girls and women with poems (usually a funny version about "Easter sprinkling") and then “sprinkle” them with perfume or sometimes water. Women must be well-prepared as they are expected to treat men with dessert and beverages, and with hand-painted eggs. Women usually prepare in advance by cleaning house thoroughly, decorating, cooking and painting a few dozen eggs. At the end of the day women might be wearing a dozen different perfumes, and men might be a bit drunk from all the drinks they were served as they paid their visits.
Santa Claus (6 December)
The Hungarian Santa, called Mikulás, (Mee-ku-lash) visits children on December 6th, St. Nicholas' Day. Children put their boots in the windows. If the child has been good, Mikulás leaves the boot filled with goodies - traditionally with candies, tangerines, walnuts, apples, dates and chocolate Mikulás figurines. Also, most children get small toys and books. If the child has been bad, the boot will contain just a twig usually with a devil-figure attached, indicating a beating is in order. Since no child is all good or all bad, they often get the twig and the treat.
The largest Christmas-tradition is the "Bethlehem play." A few days before Christmas groups of boys go house-to-house with a model of the holy family. They perform a short play about the child Jesus with songs and poems. They are usually in costumes. There are still some villages, where this tradition is maintained. Christmas Eve is when the traditional family Christmas Dinner takes place. The menu for Christmas night is usually fish or cabbage. Most families keep to the older traditions that the tree should be a surprise for the children who even believe that the tree is bought by angels. Children enter the room only when the small tree bells ring and music arises. Gifts lay around the tree with small name labels. Family-members sing Christmas songs together, then open their gifts and spend the night eating and enjoying one another's company.
||Budapest Film Festival
||premieres new Hungarian films
||the nation's top Mardi Gras
||Budapest Spring Festival
||international and local performances and exhibitions
||in Hollókő and Szentendre
||Royal Palace concerts
|Danube Water Carnival
||Chain Bridge celebration, air show, motor boat races
||Sopron Festival Weeks
||showcasing ancient music and dance performances
||Music festival next to Austria border, Sopron
|Balaton Sound Festival
||Modern music festival near Lake Balaton
||Art, culture, folklore festival in Kapolcs
|Visegrád Medieval Festival
||Folk Arts Festival
||the Nagykálló, one of the biggest and best events of the year
||one of the biggest modern day music festival on the island in Óbuda
||music festival in Zamárdi
|Formula One Grand Prix
||Hungaroring north-east of Budapest
||is Hungary's top jazz festival in Debrecen
|Budapest Wine Festival
||in Buda Castle
Birthdays & Name Days
Birthday celebrations can be quiet celebrations with family or more raucous evenings out with friends. Giving birthday gifts is a common practice. Hungarians also celebrate name days, which are noted specifically on Hungarian calendars. Friends and often co-workers acknowledge name days, usually with a phone call or flowers, books, chocolates, or other gifts. At the very least, you should remember to wish a friend or colleague a happy name day. To find out your name day go to the webpage www.hungarotips.com/customs/ndays.html.
For more information
Tel: +36 1 438 80 80 (Nonstop TOURINFORM phone line)
www.budapestinfo.hu - Official Hungarian Tourism Board
Some interesting information about Hungary, its economy, history etc.
An online language resource and dictionary in Hungarian-English, Hungarian-French, Hungarian-German and more.
www.gotohungary.com - Events calendar