Free Hungarian lesson online: The Hungarian Christmas

the real Hungarian Christmas

Do you want to learn some Hungarian? Here’s a free Hungarian lesson online for you.

Christmas in Hungary

Hungary is a Christian nation, almost with everybody being Christian, Christmas is a national holiday. People usually celebrate by going to church, decorating a tree and giving gifts to the loved ones. It is almost the same as in England, you might say.

Hungarian ChristmasHungarian Christmas

But no, there is a big difference: it isn’t Santa Claus the one, who brings the gifts in Hungary. We have Santa Claus as well, but he doesn’t come on Christmas Eve. In fact, Santa Claus is called Mikulás in Hungary, and he comes on the night of December 5. Children put their boots on the window sill on the evening of December 5, and they get it back full of presents in the morning of December 6.

Mikulás usually brings sweets and small toys to children.  This is only the start of the gift-season at the end of the year.

Mikulás - Santa Claus in Hungary

Before Christmas, every family cleans the house, bakes and cooks and buys gifts. These gifts are usually larger and more expensive than the ones Mikulás brings.

On December 24 the family comes together to celebrate. They decorate the Christmas tree and have an extensive Christmas meal. In the evening the children are waiting for the presents. Not all Hungarians get the presents the same way. In Hungary, it is baby Jesus the one who brings all the presents, however, in Transylvania (a region that once belonged to Hungary, now part of Romania, with a lot of Hungarian people living there) it is an angel.

After baby Jesus (or the angel) brings the presents, everybody sings around the tree, and as the evening falls, they open their presents.

Hungarian Christmas

The religious families go to church, sometimes at midnight on December 24, sometimes during daytime on 24 or 25, depending on what church they belong to: Catholic or Protestant.

On Christmas Day, December 25 Hungarian people usually visit their extended families or receive the visits from their relatives.

Usually, Hungarian people eat these dishes for Christmas: fish soup, stuffed cabbage, fried fish with potatoes and rice, meats (chicken, pork, goose, duck, turkey), and have bejgli (roll cake) with walnut or poppy seeds as a desert. They also eat a lot of szaloncukor (Hungarian Christmas candy) and gingerbread cookies. They drink a variety of alcoholic drinks: pálinka (Hungarian spirit), wine and beer.

Bejgli-Hungarian Christmas dessert

Now let’s learn some Hungarian words connected to Christmas:

Hungarian Christmas – words and example sentences

Christmas in Hungarian

      Karácsonykor összegyűlik a család.
      The family gathers for Christmas.


karácsonyfa - Christmas tree in Hungarian

      Christmas tree
      Az egész család részt vesz a karácsonyfa feldíszítésében.
      The whole family participates in decorating the Christmas tree.


ünnep - holiday in Hungarian

      Szeretem az ünnepeket.
      I love holidays.


ajándék - present in Hungarian

      Karácsonykor az ajándékok a fa alatt vannak.
      The presents are under the tree at Christmas.


Mikulás - Santa Claus in Hungarian

      Santa Claus
      Magyarországon a Mikulás nem karácsonykor jön.
      The Santa Claus doesn't come for Christmas in Hungary.


kis Jézus - little Jesus in Hungarian

      kis Jézus
      baby Jesus
      Magyarországon a kis Jézus hozza az ajándékokat karácsonykor.
      The little Jesus brings the presents for Christmas in Hungary.


templom - church in Hungarian

      Sokan járnak a templomba imádkozni.
      A lot of people go to church to pray.


Bejgli - roll cake in Hungarian

      roll cake
      Magyarországon karácsonykor mindenki bejglit eszik.
      Everybody eats roll-cakes for Christmas in Hungary.


halászlé - Fisherman's soup in Hungarian

      Fisherman's soup
      A halászlé csípősen finom.
      The Fisherman's soup is delicious when it is hot.


rántotthal - fried fish in Hungarian

      rántott hal
      fried fish
      Édesanyám készíti a legfinomabb rántott halat.
      My mom cooks the most delicious fried fish.


Töltött_káposzta - stuffed cabages in Hungarian

      töltött káposzta
      stuffed cabbage rolls
      A töltött káposzta tejföllel az egyik kedvenc ételem.
      Stuffed cabbage with sour cream is one of my favorite foods.


szaloncukor - Christmas candy in Hungarian

      Christmas candy
      A legtöbben a zselés és a kókuszos szaloncukrot szeretik.
      Most people like jelly and coconut Chistmas candy.


pálinka - Hungarian spirit

      Hungarian spirit
      A pálinka Magyarország nemzeti itala.
      Spirit is Hungary's national drink.


Now let’s do some revision. Take a look at this picture, and revise what you’ve just learned in this free Hungarian lesson online:

ungarian: Christmas words in Hungarian

And finally, here’s a summary about the average Hungarian Christmas. Can you find any common features with how you spend your Christmas?

Hungarian Christmas

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