Easter and the entire Holy Week in Hungary is considered to be a huge deal. Like in the rest of Europe, it's usually celebrated in spring. In the Hungarian language, Easter is known as "Húsvét", which basically means "to take meat". Thus, this holiday is about ending a long period of fasting among Christians. In other words, during Easter, people can finally go back to eating meat.
Generally, the celebrations begin with Palm Sunday, which is the last Sunday before Easter. This day also serves as the official beginning of the Holy Week. Then, locals also commemorate Maundy Thursday, meant to remind about Jesus' last dinner with his disciples. Good Friday, in turn, symbolizes the day when Christ was found guilty and got crucified. After that comes Saturday, on which Jesus passed away, so there are no celebrations. However, the next day promises a lot of joy as that is when Jesus was resurrected. This day is followed by Easter Monday, also called as Wet Monday.
On Easter Monday, known in Hungary as "locsolkodás", almost every woman gets showered, and men get tasty treats from soaked women. This ritual may sound very peculiar, but it has roots in pre-Christian pagan traditions. Specifically, the custom represents affection and serves as a sign of preserving the girl's health and fertility. So, let's get into the details!
Earlier, only girls of marriageable age were targets of men with buckets of water, but today any woman can get soaked on the streets of both cities and small villages. Usually, of course, boys and men choose well-dressed women for such an occasion. Girls usually sit at home, waiting for the boys to come and start the water sprinkling. The boys, in turn, prepare by memorizing a short and funny locsoló poem. In exchange, they later receive painted eggs, home-baked cookies, alcoholic drinks, and even money. In fact, the boys don't stop sprinkling the girls until they give them the treats. Sometimes, however, boys use perfumes or soda water instead of regular water to splash the girls.
Where to go
Shower Monday is celebrated across the whole country, but the most traditional way of showering is still kept in the village of Hollókő, which belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and has houses and municipal buildings in the 17th-century style. However, other Hungarian cities and towns also offer a lot of Easter entertainment options, giving you the authentic local vibe. For example, you can always head to Budapest, or simply go to Szentendre to feel how Easter was celebrated centuries ago. So, don't hesitate to book your accommodation in advance and have a terrific time!