Christmas in Hungary
In Hungary, Santa doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas, he comes on
December 6th. On this day Santa makes his rounds among the shops, schools and
parades just like he does in other countries. Kids get candy and chocolate in red
The Christmas tree is bought a day to a week (or two in some extreme cases) before
Christmas eve and stored outside in the cold – all wrapped up, so it will last longer.
In some parts of the country people used to hang their trees out of apartment
windows, tall buildings, or put them on balconies if they did not have a yard or
On December 24th (Christmas Eve), everything closes around noon or by 4pm at the
latest. All public transportation stops as well. People get home by that time, and
start putting up the tree (it’s rarely done before the 24th!). So the afternoon and early
evening is occupied by decorating the tree. Later a light dinner is served after which
family members would place the present that they got for each other under the tree.
After the tree is lit, present are opened and families spend the rest of the evening
together. Hungarian Christians often go to midnight mass.
The following two days are national holidays and people usually spend the first day
with their immediate families, having a big festive meal that starts around 2pm. The
next day is the same, but people usually get together with extended family members
or attend Church