Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for I'm going to talk about Hungarian Easter now

Really, I couldn't find anything that starts with I, but this is something that doesn't cease to amuse my American friends, so I'm going to write about this anyway.

It's called Locsolás, and they usually translate it to Easter Sprinkling, even though the proper term would be Easter Dousing. Really.

In Hungarian tradition, on Easter Monday, guys go around knocking on doors, asking girls if they are allowed to water them like flowers, so they can stay fresh throughout the year (yeah, it's a fertility thing). They have clever or not so clever little rhymes and poems, asking for permission. When permission is granted, they take a bucket of water (if you are lucky) or a bottle of perfume (if you are not so lucky) and proceed to thoroughly drench you to an extent that no actual flower would survive.

Basically, it's the wet t-shirt contest of our ancestors. You can't argue with it if it's tradition!

Sounds fun, right?
Listen up, guys, it gets better.

To thank the men for keeping them fresh, girls are supposed to pay for this! Traditionally, they pay with painted eggs (and alcoholic beverages); nowadays, they pay with painted eggs, chocolate, candy, and cash (and more alcoholic beverages).
So, by the end of the day, if you are a guy, you are rich and drunk; if you are a girl, you are drenched and feel very popular. Halloween meets Valentine's Day meets Spring Break.
Sweet, huh?

(In some areas of Hungary girls could return the favor on Easter Tuesday. Sometimes, if the girl refuses to get sprinkled, guys pull a trick on her. Or at least that's what my grandpa's stories are about)

Sprinkling is still alive and well, but nowadays, at least in urban settings, perfume is more popular. By the end of the day, everyone stinks from different scents, and this is the one day of the year when all the girls' hairwashing schedules sync up. I usually push my little sister out the door first so she gets the bigger part of whatever's supposed to keep us fresh.

Still. I think it's a fun tradition to have :)


  1. This looks like fun! All we did was make brunch.

  2. I never thought I'd miss it :) I'm in the USA right now, so no sprinkling for me either. Fun tradition though :)

  3. And I thought this was just a Polish custom! But I guess it's not surprising that the tradition crosses borders. My Polish friends here in NH talk about it & carry it on here too.

  4. I love that sprinkling tradition! What fun!