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Soon the festive atmosphere of Christmas and New Year will reign on the streets and in homes. Bright fairy lights, evenings in a warm circle and delicious food - all these are familiar attributes of holidays for the countries of the world. However, apart from them, there are various traditions and customs that may differ. How are winter holidays prepared and celebrated in Russia and Hungary, and what do these two countries have in common? We figure it out together with a representative of the Moscow office of the Hungarian Export Agency HEPA.

Spiritual Christmas for Western Christians and Orthodox

Among the main holidays of believers is the Nativity of Christ. Western Christians celebrate Christmas on the night of December 24-25. Preparation begins with a strict fast, called Advent. Festive decorations appear on the streets, and pre-Christmas fairs are on the main squares.

In the middle of Advent, December 13 is celebrated Saint Lucia - the day when many people are divinating. For example, in the old days one could try to find out the name of the betrothed. To do this, men`s names were written on pieces of paper, rolled up and sealed inside balls of dough (dumplings) and threw them into a pot of boiling water. In the first ball of dough that appeared, the girl could find the name of her future husband.

Christmas is a family holiday, so all establishments close at midday on Christmas Eve. The Hungarians spend the time remaining before the holiday with their family. They also decorate the Christmas tree - it is believed that this cannot be done in advance. On the day before Christmas, in the traditions of both Orthodox and Catholic believers, they do not eat until evening, but not everyone follows it.

On Christmas Eve, the Hungarians set a festive table with lenten dishes. Traditionally, it should be carp on it. An interesting custom is associated with it: if you put fish scales in your wallet for a year, its will bring you wealth. After dinner and gifts exchange, bells sound and many go to church. And in the morning the fast ends - and you can taste meat dishes.

Among the interesting traditions of Hungary are puppet shows that tell about the birth of Christ. And in some Hungarian villages, you can hear kantalashi - songs or poems that are singed at the neighboring doors. By tradition, a fare or an invitation to the host`s table is laid for kantalashi.

According to the old Julian calendar, Orthodox Christmas also fell on December 25th. However, after the transition to the Gregorian calendar, the holiday began to be celebrated on the night of January 6-7. The Nativity Fast begins on November 28 and ends on the eve of the holiday. Exactly at midnight, a solemn begins in the churches, which is attended by many believers.

According to the old Julian calendar, Orthodox Christmas also fell on December 25th. However, after the transition to the Gregorian calendar, the holiday began to be celebrated on the night of January 6-7. The Nativity Fast begins on November 28 and ends on the eve of the holiday. Exactly at midnight, a solemn begins in the churches, which is attended by many believers.

The period from January 7 to January 18 is called Svyatki - at this time in Russia there was a custom to visit and carol. Among some peoples divination is still popular - for example, about the betrothed. The girls came to the crossroads at midnight and listened to the surroundings: if you can hear laughter, then there will be a wedding; you can hear crying - marriage will not be for a long time. They also use mirrors, threads, matches and others to guess.

Bright New Year - Hungarian and Russian 

Both in Hungary and in Russia the New Year (it is also the day of St. Sylvester according to the Catholic calendar) is usually celebrated cheerfully and noisily. It is interesting that in Hungary it is customary not only to make noise, but to use pipes and horns. This tradition went back to ancient times, when it was believed that noisy festivities scare away evil spirits. Of course, the holiday in both countries cannot be imagined without fairs and fireworks.

Many Hungarian families have a special festive table. Traditionally, it should have a roast pig, which everyone twists its tail on - for luck. At the same time, it is not customary to serve fish or birds on the table - it is believed that happiness can float away or fly away. In Russia, the main festive drink is champagne, while in Hungary, many people prefer krumpampouli made from rum, black tea, sweet wine, fruits and spices.

Source: www.globalmsk.ru