Húsvét (Easter) is a majestic time of tradition and festivities in Hungary, as well as a somber Christian holiday mourning the crucifixion of Jesus. It is a thousand-year old tradition for Hungarians as most of them are Christians who take this tradition at heart. Many people put on traditional folk dresses. The two most widely practiced customs of Easter are “sprinkling” of the ladies and „egg painting”. Both are very common in both urban and rural areas, among people of every age-group. Some of the key days around Easter is resurrection Sunday, which is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred three days after his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary. It is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), which is a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
The week before Easter is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday), commemorating the Last Supper and its preceding foot washing, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion itself. In western Christianity, Eastertide, the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the fiftieth day, Pentecost Sunday. In Orthodoxy, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends with the coming of the fortieth day, the Feast of the Ascension.
Sprinkling (locsolkodás) is an old tradition in Central Europe
The photo shows folk costumes that people in rural areas wear just for this special occasion as young men pour buckets of water over the ladies. In cosmopolitan settings, men often use diluted cologne and not necessarily water for the sprinkling event. One possible reason for this old tradition is that people believe in the cleaning, healing and fertility effect of water.
Smigus-Dyngus (Polish Dyngus or lany poniedziałek, meaning Wet Monday) is the name for Easter Monday in Poland and the diaspora. In the Czech Republic it is called velikonoční pondělí. In Slovakia veľkonočný pondelok, also called Šibačka/Polievačka or Oblievačka. In Hungary Locsolkodás. All countries practice a unique custom on this day. In Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic traditionally, early in the morning boys awake girls by pouring a bucket of water over their heads and striking them about the legs with long thin twigs or switches made from willow, birch or decorated tree branches. Another related custom, unique to Poland, is that of sprinkling bowls (garce) of ashes on people or houses, celebrated a few weeks earlier at the “półpoście.” This custom is almost forgotten, but still practiced in the area around the borders of Mazuria and Masovia.
In Germany, people go out into the fields early in the morning and hold Easter egg races. For Roman Catholics, Easter Monday is also a Holy Day of Obligation in Germany.
Though not largely observed in the United States, the day remains informally observed in some areas such as the state of North Dakota and some cities in New York, Michigan, and Indiana. Easter Monday was a public holiday in North Carolina from 1935 to 1987. Texas and Maryland schools often have two holidays on Good Friday and Easter Monday. In some states and districts, public schools and universities are closed on Easter Monday, often part of sping break.
Traditionally Polish areas of the country such as Chicago, and more recently Cleveland, observe Easter Monday as Dyngus Day. In the United States, Dyngus Day celebrations are widespread and popular in Buffalo; Wyandotte and Hamtrack in Michigan; South Bend and La Porte in Indiana; and Hanover, New Hampshire.
There are many different painting methods alive. The simplest way is to cook the egg enveloped into a dented leaf, in painting water. The covered part of the egg remains white and will show the pattern of the leaf. Painting liquid can be made from onion skin, wild pear, green walnut or other vegetables yielding different natural colors. Sometimes women “write the egg”. They draw folk patterns on the egg using melted wax and soak the eggs into painting liquid. The egg remains white below the wax and will show the pattern. However, the most beautiful eggs are painted by hand with different colors following traditional folk patterns.
Easter is a 2-day holiday in Hungary. On Monday, boys and men visit all of their female relatives, friends, neighbors, often even if they are not close friends. 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 shorter – longer poems (mostly with a funny poem about “Eastern sprinkling”) and sprinkle them with cologne. Women must be well-prepared, they treat men with dessert and beverages – and with hand-painted eggs. Women usually prepare during the previous days by cleaning up the house thoroughly, decorating, cooking and painting a few dozen eggs.
Hungary and many countries in the world prefer to be at peace at Easter time. Of course, nowadays, we need to be alert and ready for any sudden unwanted external or internal act, but generally, this holiday is one of the most peaceful holidays for families in the Central European region.
Whatever the traditions and customs are at this time of the year, an old saying seems to be good advice in our fast-paced world: „do not put all of your eggs in one basket”… The origin of this wisdom stems from Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, in which Sancho Panza declares: “It is the part of a wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow, and not venture all his eggs in one basket.”
 Don Quixote (Part I, Book III, Chapter 9) by Miguel de Cervantes [1547-1616].