Hungarians have been celebrating New Year with folklore-based rituals for centuries. Let's take a closer look at some of the best.
Single women have a traditional method for predicting the future. They prepare 13 dumplings, stuffing 12 of them with small pieces of paper – each with the name of a potential fiancé. The girl should throw the dumplings into boiling water at midnight, and the first one that rises to the surface is believed to contain the name of her future spouse. If it is the empty dumpling, she is expected to be single for the entire year.
To avoid misfortune in the coming year, there are many superstitions and taboos. For example, those who take out the trash on the first day of January will also throw away their good fortune for the coming year.
New Year’s meals are also a family tradition. On December 31st, meals often contain roast pork, because pigs are thought to bring good luck – but one should not eat chicken because the birds scratch away success, or fish, which swim away with good fortune. Hungary’s signature New Year’s Day dishes include loads of lentils, as wealth is destined for those who start the year by scoffing down a bowl of lentil soup or stew.