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The Advent season, the three-week long period preceding Christmas, began last Sunday. However, due to the coronavirus epidemic, the holidays will be inevitably different than usual. The coronavirus measures introduced will significantly limit life in the coming weeks. There are no Christmas masses, the streets are empty in the evenings without flowing crowds looking for Christmas presents, the smell of mulled wine and chimney cakes is missing from the air. But we still have the opportunity to stop for a while and take in the quiet and peace. Despite the epidemic, Hungarian cities are still celebrating Advent on their main squares this year as well. We have collected some photos of the first week of Advent to get you into the Christmas spirit. 

Green Christmas in Budapest

This year, there are fewer fairy lights in downtown Budapest. The reason for this is the “green” Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony, who introduced a strict green policy. Budapester Zeitung recently reported that “probably the most noticeable change will be that the trees along Andrássy út will no longer be wrapped in fairy lights in future.”

photo: Zoltán Máthé/MTI

Instead, a total of 182 light fixtures are now suspended between 26 pairs of trees on the street connecting Deák tér and Oktogon. Like the decorative elements on the City Hall park, these are made of biodegradable material.

photo: Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony’s Facebook page

The so-called “Light trams” or Christmas trams (“fényvillamos”) are decorated with almost 40,000 lights and run in the evenings from 3 pm, until January 6, 2021.

Holidays During COVID: Budapest Celebrates With Spectacular Christmas Trams Again
Holidays During COVID: Budapest Celebrates With Spectacular Christmas Trams Again

Despite the coronavirus, this year’s Advent period and Christmas holidays will be a bit different with the markets canceled, but Budapest’s spectacular Christmas trams are back again for the holiday season. The so-called “light trams” (fényvillamos) are decorated with almost 40,000 lights and operate in the evenings, starting around 5:00 pm until January 6, 2021. […]Continue reading

The trams, decorated with several kilometers of LED strings, have been an integral part of Budapest since 2009. As usual, the light tram made its first trip this year on tram line 2 by the banks of the Danube with a beautiful view of the city.

photo: Zoltán Máthé/MTI

Christmas tree of the country in front of Parliament

The “Christmas tree of the country” was set up before the first weekend of Advent. The tree weighs 4 tons and is 15 meters high. It was gifted to the Hungarian state by a family in Székesfehérvár, who grew the impressive tree in their garden for 40 years.

photo: Zoltán máthé/MTI

photo: Zoltán Máthé/MTI

Christmas lights in the capital, Budapest

photo: Zoltán Máthé/MTI

photo: Simon Nyirő/BKK

Győr

Győr, in western Hungary, is the third largest city of the country, located halfway between Budapest and Vienna. Today, the city has about 140,000 inhabitants.

photo: Csaba Krizsán/MTI

photo: Csaba Krizsán/MTI

Advent in one of the most beautiful cities in southern Hungary, Pécs

Beautiful Pécs is located in the southern part of the country. Pécs is located at the foot of the Mecsek Mountains and the numerous monuments give the place a Mediterranean atmosphere. Sometimes even a springlike sun shines on the city during the Christmas season.

photo: Tamás Sóki/MTI

The Mosque of Pasha Qasim, which today operates as the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a former mosque in the center of Pécs. It is located in the city’s main square, Széchenyi tér.

photo: Tamás Sóki/MTI

Gyöngyös

Gyöngyös is a Hungarian city in Heves county, 90 km east of Budapest with about 33,000 inhabitants. Since the first Sunday in Advent, there has been a festive Christmas lighting on the main square. Mayor György Hiesz lit the first candle on the Advent wreath on November 29th.

photo: Péter Komka/MTI

photo: Péter Komka/MTI

photo: Péter Komka/MTI

Szentendre

The city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Hungary, and of course not only during Christmastime! Because of its proximity to Budapest and the charming baroque cityscape, the beautiful city is a favorite of both tourists and Hungarians.

photo: Balázs Mohai/MTI

photo: Balázs Mohai/MTI

The most beautiful and largest nativity scene in Hungary in Makó

The Makó nativity scene was voted Hungary’s most beautiful nativity scene this year. The title was awarded by the Hungarian Tourism Agency.

photo: Tibor Rosta/MTI

On the first Sunday of Advent, Éva Erzsébet Farkas and Anikó Bartus-Bercza presented the crib, which was built in the “style of the famous Hungarian architect Imre Makovecz.”

photo: Tibor Rosta/MTI

photo: Tibor Rosta/MTI

Debrecen

Debrecen is the second largest city in Hungary, located in the eastern part of the country, about 30 kilometers west of the border with Romania.

photo: Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI

The population is mainly part of the Calvinist and Lutheran churches, in contrast to the rest of Hungary, which is predominantly Catholic. The city’s main landmark is also a Calvinist church, the largest of its kind in Hungary.

photo: Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI

photo: Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI

photo: Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI

Budapest Bethesda Children’s Hospital

The last picture is the personal favorite of the editors. The Bethesda Children’s Hospital, located in Budapest, posted a photo on its Facebook page, captioned:

We are almost like the children… Day by day we look forward to seeing the festive exterior of our hospital when we come out of the building after a long day at work in the dark.

This year’s “light installation” is a gift from the Gyermelyi company for those who are recovering in Bethesda.

Szinte mi is olyanok vagyunk, mint a gyerekek… napról napra kíváncsian várjuk, milyen új ünnepi külső borítja a…

Posted by Bethesda Gyermekkórház on Monday, 30 November 2020

featured photo: Balázs Mohai/MTI