Hungarian culture

Magyar kultúra


original image made by Téjlor (László Szabó)

 [ˈnɑɟ] – big; large; great
nagy i [ˈnɑɟ i] – capital i; big i
nagyi [ˈnɑɟi] – grandma; granny

piros [ˈpiroʃ] – red
piros k [ˈpiroʃ kaː] – red k
Piroska [ˈpiroʃkɑ] – Little Red (fairy tale character) 

A farkas nagyon szerette a betűket… felfalta a nagy i-t és a piros k-t. – The wolf liked letters so much…
that he ate the capital i and the red k.

Piroska és a farkas [ˈpiroʃkɑ eːʃ ɑ fɑrkɑʃ] – Little Red riding hood
[Literally::: Little Red and the wolf]



[ˈsylɛteːʃnɑp] – birthday
szülinap [ˈsylinɑp] – birthday (slang)
névnap [ˈneːvnɑp] – name day

The name day consists of celebrating a day of the year, that is associated with one’s given name. It’s very popular in Hungary, often as much as a person’s actual birthdate. A woman is typically given flowers on her name day by acquaintances, including in the workplace, and the price of flowers often rises around the dates of popular names because of demand. A bottle of alcohol is a common gift for men on their name day. Children frequently bring sweets to school to celebrate their name days. Name days are more often celebrated than birthdays in workplaces, presumably because it is simpler to know the date since most calendars contain a list of name days. You can also find the name day on daily newspapers by the date and on Hungarian websites. Some highly popular names have several name days; in that case, the person chooses on which day he or she wishes to celebrate. ~ wiki


There are a lot of traditions in our culture and gastronomy, and one of them is eating lentil soup on the first day of the new year. We believe that if we do this, then the whole new year each day we will have enough money in our purse to live a good life. The many little round lentils symbolize money.

lencseleves [ˈlɛntʃɛlɛvɛʃ] – lentil soup
lencse [ˈlɛntʃɛ]
1) lentil
2) lens; glass

leves [ˈlɛvɛʃ] – soup
1) liquid
2) juice
3) gravy
4) money (used in slang)


lőre [ˈløːrɛ] – juice; drink (archaic)
1) liquid (dialectical)
2) juice; drink (dialectical)
3) he/she/it is shooting; he/she/it shoots
lőni [ˈløːni] – to shoot


The word mindszent [ˈmindsɛnt] is the short version of mindenszentek napja [ˈmindensɛntek nɑpjɑ], which means All Saints’ Day, and is held on November 1 every year.

On this day the Hungarians hold the nice tradition of taking flowers or wreaths to the graves of deceased relatives and lighting candles there. Then they visit their relatives, eat cakes, baked pumpkin and some other food while talking and remembering the passed aways. The cemeteries in the evenings of these days look really beautiful thanks to the lights of the many small candles.

minden [ˈmindɛn] – everything; every
szent [ˈsɛnt] – saint
nap [ˈnɑp]
1) day
2) sun

mécses [ˈmeːtʃeʃ] – lampion; candle (in glass)
gyertya [ˈɟɛrcɑ] – candle
gyertyát gyújtani [ˈɟɛrcaːt ɟuːjtɑni] – to light a candle

sütőtök [ˈʃytøːtøk] – pumpkin
sütő [ˈʃytøː]
1) baking; frying; roasting; broiling; grilling
2) baker [person]
3) oven

sütni [ˈʃytni]
1) to bake; to roast
2) to shine [the sun]

sülni [ˈʃylni] – to be baking
tök [ˈtøk]
1) squash; pumpkin; vegetable marrow
2) bells (a suit) [in card games]
3) male sex organs; male genital [informal]


[ˈɑɲoːʃyleːʃ]  – passenger’s seat
[Literally::: mother-in-law’s seat]
anyós [ˈɑɲoːʃ] – mother-in-law
ülés [ˈyleːʃ] – seat; sitting
ülni [ˈylni] – to sit; to be sitting
According to some old rules of etiquette it is the mother-in-law who is sitting next to her daughter’s husband (who is the driver) when the family is going somewhere together. And that is why the seat is named after her. This tradition probably has evolved from the boy’s strategic move, when he was still only dating the girl, to get closer to her mother and make her recognize him as a good boy, who is perfect for her daughter. Because the mother’s opinion is very honoured in a family.
Some other theory says the seat is named after the mother-in-law only because when there is a tragic car accident, then the person sitting on that particular seat will most probably die in the accident… and some mother-in-laws can be really nerve-racking, so they will always be given that seat…

Töltött káposzta

Töltött káposzta
 [ˈtøltøtː kaːpostɑ] – Hungarian stuffed cabbage

töltelék [ˈtøltɛleːk] – stuffing; filling
tölteni [ˈtøltɛni]
1) to fill; to stuff
2) to pour
[e.g.: Töltök egy pohár vizet. – I pour a glass of water.]
3) to charge
[e.g.: Mobiltelefon töltő. – Mobile phone charger.]
4) to pass; to spend
[e.g.: Mivel töltöd a napjaidat? – How do you pass your days?]

káposzta [ˈkaːpostɑ] – cabbage



te / ti / Ön / Önök / maga / maguk

– you (unisex informal singular – like tú in Spanish)
ti – you (unisex informal plural – like vosotros in Spanish)

Ön – you (unisex formal singular – like Usted in Spanish)
Önök – you (unisex formal plural – like Ustedes in Spanish)

maga – you (unisex formal singular)
maguk – you (unisex formal plural)

Maga and maguk are used to address an unknown or not respected person/people, or simply as a form of addressing, for example:
Maga ott, jöjjön ide! – Hey, you there, come here!
Már megint maga az?! – Is that you, again, what do you want?! (angry)
Maga kis szarkupac! – You little piece of shit! (angry & rude)

Csókoljon meg, maga nőcsábász! – Oh, kiss me, you womanizer!



Csókolom is the universal greeting phrase the young Hungarians use to greet the old people, mainly those who they have known since they were little children, for example the neighbours. It is the short version of “Kezét csókolom!” (I’m kissing your hand) or “Kezeit csókolom!” (I’m kissing your hands), which is a formal greeting of women, that was originally used by the men, but then it’s short version became the way the children greet the women or men
as old as their parents or older.

Even though we grow up, we still tend to use it to greet the old people we have known since ever and also when we want to greet an unknown old person in a formal way. So don’t be surprised when a Hungarian in their 20s or 30s greets a 60-90 years old Hungarian with the phrase Csókolom! It is just a nice and respectful way of greeting old people. 🙂

csók [ˈtʃoːk] – kiss
csókolózni [ˈtʃoːkoloːzni] – to be kissing; to be snogging
csókolódzni [ˈtʃoːkoloːdzni] – to be kissing; to be snogging (archaic)
csókolódzás [ˈtʃoːkoloːdzaːʃ] – kissing; snogging (archaic)
csókolózás [ˈtʃoːkoloːzaːʃ] – kissing; snogging
megcsókolni [ˈmegtʃoːkolni] – to kiss

puszi [ˈpusi] – peck
megpuszilni [ˈmegpusilni] – to give a peck

csókolgatni [ˈtʃoːkolgɑtni] – to be kissing any of somebody’s body parts
puszilgatni [ˈpusilgɑtni] – to be giving pecks to any of somebody’s body parts

csókolgatás [ˈtʃoːkolgɑtaːʃ] – kissing any of somebody’s body parts
puszilgatás [ˈpusilgɑtaːʃ] – giving pecks to any of somebody’s body parts