Hungarian Superstitions for Szilveszter (New Year’s Eve)

Fireworks over Budapest
Fireworks over Budapest

It’s important to mix superstitions and alcohol whenever possible. Hungarians have a bevy of both, but especially when it concerns Szilveszter. In no particular order, here are a few things to eat, do, avoid and then some fairly biased options for what do drink.

Hungarian food
Traditional Hungarian food at Belvarosi Disznotoros, Budapest

•  Eat a lot of pork. Pig fat means prosperity. Please look up a recipe for ‘Kocsonya’ (meat jelly/aspic) if you want to really tackle this option head on.
•  Lentils also symbolize good luck and wealth. Make a soup with plenty of paprika and sour cream.
•  Another great soup is ‘Korhely Leves.’ This is basically a sauerkraut soup with a lot of smoked meat and paprika. Perhaps the greatest Central European hangover cure as well.
•  Fortune telling. Put a variety of names (whatever gender(s) you’re into) inside raw dumplings, and then whatever boils to the surface first is your true love.
•  Make calendars from 12 layers of an onion and pour salt over each layer. Whichever layer sweats the most means a rainy corresponding month.
•  Don’t do any household cleaning. Even taking out the trash is bad luck. Don’t even wash your clothes.
•  Give yourself a cold shower early in the morning to promote health. Don’t go to the doctor either.
•  Avoid eating chicken and fish. Something about chickens pecking away at luck and fish swimming off with said luck. This is just for New Year’s day.
•  Make a lot of noise. This scares away the bad spirits and celebrates the passing of the year. You can still find large outdoor parties with an extra array of whistles and noisemakers in the squares in Budapest despite often being well below zero.

Whether it’s smoky briny soups, mentally prepping for a cold shower, trying to digest pork jelly, or nursing yourself back to health in order to properly step into 2017, you’ll find some pretty comforting wines in our comprehensive portfolio of Hungarian wines.