Christmas in Hungary – Visit Hungary During Xmas Time

Christmas in Hungary is a huge celebration and like most of Europe’s they fill the season with their own unique traditions, here are a few of the biggest events.

Gift Giving and Santa

In comparison to most countries the gift-giving begins relatively early in Hungary, Santa Claus delivers gifts for children on the 5th of December.

This night is known as Mikulás and involves the children of Hungary placing their boots or shoes on a windowsill to be filled with small gifts when Santa arrives.

This is followed by a family meal the following day, known as Saint Nicholas Feast Day.

From this day onwards the countdown to Christmas is represented by the lighting of four candles atop an advent wreath each day, with of the four candles representing faith, hope, joy, and love.

Luca Day

In the middle of the Christmas countdown is Hungary’s Winter Solstice, an event known as Luca day.

The most famous tradition of this day is the carving a ‘Luca chair’, a chair that was originally supposed to give the user a vantage point at the Mass to spot witches in the crowd but now is used as a fun family activity.

Luca Love Spells

One of the more obscure traditions is the Luca Love spells, this involves an unmarried woman writing the names of twelve men on scraps of paper and burning one scrap per-day in the run-up to Christmas.

The last name burned is believed to be the name of her future husband.

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Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner

In addition to these traditions Hungary has adopted some of the western traditions and most families will decorate a Xmas tree in the run-up to Christmas and place presents underneath it on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas meal consists of fish dishes, starting with fish soup and then fried fish and rice.

This may seem strange but makes sense when you consider much of Hungary’s heritage comes from fishing. 

Christmas Dinner Hungary

Similarly to most of the world, Alcohol also plays a big part in Hungary’s Christmas celebrations with wine and beer being popular choices, as well as the traditional Hungarian drink Palinka.

In Hungarian Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Boldog karácsonyt’ (Happy Christmas) or ‘Kellemes karácsonyi ünnepeket’ (pleasant Christmas holidays). It is interesting to know how people wish Happy or Merry Christmas in other languages.

Learn More With the Help of Video

Main Points About Christmas in Hungary

  1. Christmas eve is the most important day in the festive season; all the main celebrations take place on that day.
  2. Nativity scenes, Christmas trees, and other Christmas decorations are very popular in Hungary. Traditionally, the trees are not decorated until Christmas Eve.
  3. On Christmas eve, children are allowed to go caroling or hang out with friends. They are only allowed into the house when their parents have put their presents under the Christmas tree.
  4. Baking cookies is a very important tradition at Christmas. Families and loved ones come together to bake dozens of cookies.
  5. On Christmas day, families share a special meal of poppyseed strudel, fish, and lentils.


Christmas in Hungary is very similar to its nearby country neighbors.

St. Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 6th and you have a special kind of fish soup, with carp, for dinner on Christmas Eve. St. Nicholas is known as ”Mikulas” and brings children gifts and so does ”baby Jesus” on Christmas Eve.

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Midnight Mass, as well as gingerbread, is popular in Hungary. Want to say Merry Christmas in Hungarian? Say Boldog karacsonyi!”

Word Cloud for Christmas in Hungary

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Hungary. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Christmas in Hungary

Last Updated : 24 November, 2023

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19 thoughts on “Christmas in Hungary – Visit Hungary During Xmas Time”

  1. Learning about the various aspects of Christmas in Hungary has given me a newfound appreciation for the country’s cultural depth.

  2. Who knew that Hungary’s Christmas traditions were so diverse and intriguing? Makes me want to experience it firsthand!

    • Perhaps a Christmas trip to Hungary is in order, based on what we’ve learned from this enlightening article!

  3. It’s cool to learn more about Hungary’s Christmas traditions, but I think the Luca Love Spells might be a bit too superstitious for my liking.

    • I understand what you mean, but I find it intriguing how different cultures have their own unique practices around this time of year.

    • I think the superstitions around Luca Day make the Christmas season even more mysterious and enchanting!

  4. Interesting to see that Hungary has its own unique traditions around Christmas, which makes it a fascinating place to spend the holiday season.

    • I agree, the Luca Day traditions and especially the Luca Love Spells are something unlike anything I’ve ever heard of before.

  5. The rich cultural heritage of Hungary shines through in their Christmas traditions, making it a truly special time for both locals and visitors.

  6. I had no idea about the origins of the Luca chair or the Luca Love Spells – very informative article!

    • Absolutely, learning about these lesser-known customs is what makes exploring different holiday traditions so fascinating.

  7. It’s intriguing to see how Hungary’s Christmas traditions blend age-old customs with more modern influences.

  8. The combination of both traditional and adopted Christmas customs in Hungary makes for a diverse and vibrant holiday season.

    • This article has piqued my curiosity about spending Christmas in Hungary – seems like a truly unique experience!

  9. Hungary’s unique Christmas meal of fish dishes is an interesting departure from the typical holiday feasts in other countries.

  10. While Christmas traditions are rooted in old customs, the adoption of newer practices keeps the holiday fresh and ever-evolving.

    • It’s interesting how Hungary manages to preserve its rich heritage while embracing contemporary elements in their holiday celebrations.

    • Absolutely, the infusion of modern touches into timeless traditions is what makes Christmas in Hungary so captivating.

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