This selection presents customs and traditions linked to Christmas and the winter festive season. The photos and accompanying explanations provide visitors with an insight into an extensive range of folk traditions, detailing when, for what purpose and what kind of people used to dress up, sing songs and chant in the days leading up to and following Christmas. What tools did the people who lived at the beginning of the 20th century employ to enjoy the pleasures of winter while also carrying out ...their daily tasks in the freezing conditions? A photo album that leads you to the past and where you walk rather than leaf through its pages.
Luca Day, the day of wicked spirits, was held across all the Hungarian speaking territories to protect everybody against witches. All broomsticks were locked away to stop witches from leaping onto them.
Even now, the drama of the Nativity in the lead up to Christmas remains one of Hungary's most popular folk traditions. The main elements of the story are the Holy Family looking for a place to stay and the tributes of the shepherds and the three kings. The oldest Hungarian variations of the Nativity are found in Transylvania, where some scenes can be traced as far back as the 17th century. Nativity plays were known by Hungarian speakers in Slovakia as jaslicskárok.
The Colindă is still celebrated today and is linked to the beginning of winter. Though it has pagan origins, it is infused with Christian elements. This tradition of Romanian folklore bears similarities to the traditional Hungarian 'kántálás' chanting and the 'Regölés'.
The 'Regölés' is a welcoming folk tradition which focuses on the magic of nature and is primarily found in the Transdanubia area. From the second day of Christmas to 6 January, the 'Regösök' (usually young folk) would walk through the village and sing songs at each house, receiving presents in return.
The 'Turkajárás', on the other hand, involved people dressing themselves up as goats.
As well as winter plays and pageants, the photos document special work related to the freezing conditions, ice skaters, ice sledders, skiiers, sledders and ice fishermen.
Presented by: Müpa Budapest
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