Hungary, a small country situated in the very middle of Europe, has become a very popular tourist destination in the past few years. As every nation, they also have their habits and peculiarities. Here are some signs that show that you can’t be anywhere else on the planet but in Hungary.
- People greet each other with ’See ya!’ and say goodbye with ’Pussy!’. If I’m abroad and make a phone call to a Hungarian friend, people always frown at me when I hang up the phone. ‘Puszi’, which is pronounced the same way as pussy means a light kiss on the cheek in Hungarian, and is a common form of saying goodbye to each other. Also ’szia’ can mean hello and goodbye at the same time. There is nothing to frown upon.
- Being a guest at a Hungarian dinner table is a tough job, but somebody has to do it. A good piece of advice: go there hungry. Upon seeing the amount of food being served – at least five courses, two different types of main dishes, lots of sides and salads – you will assume that your hosts cooked for the whole neighborhood, but that’s not the case: everything is prepared for you. And if you refuse food, they’ll automatically think you have an eating disorder and will try to make you eat even more. Oh, did I tell you to go there hungry?
- The names are in the wrong order! As in many Far-Eastern countries, Hungarians also put their family name before their given name. And to make everything more complicated, they used to translate foreign names and changed the first name-last name order as well. This is how Jules Verne is known in the country as Verne Gyula.
- Every genius, famous person and celebrity is Hungarian, or related to a Hungarian. And so is basically every invention from the ballpoint pen to the high-performance liquid chromatograph. We like to brag about how many well-known people come from such a small country, be it the inventor of the Rubik’s cube, the discoverer of Vitamin C or the national water polo team.
- If you clink with your beer glasses you’re considered to be rude. The reason for that leads us back in history to the Revolution of 1848 which was crushed by the Austrians. When the leaders of the uprising went off to be executed, the Austrians celebrated by clinking their beer glasses and saying ’Prost!’. Since that day, Hungarians get offended when somebody does that. Clinking your glass filled with anything else and shouting ’Egészségedre!’ is however a must if you want to take part in a celebration the proper way.