1st of May in Hungary

1st of May in Hungary

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Hogyan ünnepeljük és miért május 1-jét Magyarországon? Cikk szószedettel, és májusi szavakat tanító feladattal.

1st of May marks Labour Day in Hungary, which looks back on a long history. As times have changed, the way of celebration has also changed. The onetime glorious processions turned into joyful May Day picnics, which come with the tradition of maypole mounting. Let’s take a look at what we celebrate this day.

1st of May was first celebrated in 1890. It was the international celebration of workers for one century, and it has been the Solidarity Day of workers since 1990. The history of Labour Day goes back to the times of the Industrial Revolution. Countries all over the world started demanding the reduction of working hours from 10-16 to 8. The first protests started in Great Britain in 1817, then they spread to Australia in 1856. In the second part of the 19th century, the USA also joined the initiation, but the American events became rough and took a toll of dozens of human lives. This led to a wave of indignation all over the world, which was followed by demonstrations of commemoration. In 1889, the Second International decided that trade unions and other labour organisations should organise a process for the introduction of the eight-hour workday, and to express solidarity.

A 1st of May mass demonstration was held for the first time in Hungary in 1890. 1st of May has become the biggest international labour celebration in the 20th century, especially in the Soviet Union and the Socialist countries, where it was celebrated amid glorious externals. It has become an official public holiday and a labour-free day.

However, after the fall of Communist regimes, 1st of May became the solidarity day of workers. Since then, it has mostly been celebrated with May Day picnics (majális in Hungarian).

The tradition of picnics and maypole mounting is closely connected to the 1st of May. The last day of April and the first day of May are not only important because of May Day picnics and graduations, but the traditions of maypole mounting and giving may-baskets still play a significant role in the celebrations.

This is the time when boys take poles or baskets to their chosen ladies, thus implying their intention of courting. The maypole and the green branch are the symbols of nature’s revival, and also a gift of love.

What exactly is a maypole? It is a whip tree with its branches cut off at the trunk. Young men went out at night to the forest and cut it, then mounted it in front of the house of the beloved girl. In many places, one big maypole was mounted in front of the house of the judge or the priest, or in front of the temple, and smaller trees were mounted in front of the girls’ houses. The maypoles were decorated with ribbons, handkerchiefs, flowers, bottles of wine, gilded eggs etc. before they were dug into the ground or nailed to the gate-post or well-sweep.

As usual, traditions vary from region to region, for instance, in Transylvania the boys even carved the tree or carved their name on the tree. The cutting and delivery of the maypole happened in secret, at night, while its decoration at dawn was mostly the joint and confidential task of the boy squad. The beauty and the size of the maypole was a source of discussion everywhere: who courts whom, who got the prettiest tree, whose tree was disfigured at night by an enemy, etc. The tipping of maypoles usually went together with celebrations, dances. Dancing around the maypole and climbing up to them was a ceremonial part of the tipping. It was especially hard to climb tall trees without periderm. But it was a real competition, as the one who was able to climb the maypole, won the bottle of drink at the top. Guys liked to trick each other by putting paprika water in the bottle. The tradition was also known in the cities, and it still is; some people still mount maypoles.

However, the visiting of May Day picnics is a more common activity, as it is a fun programme for the whole family. It is basically like a joyful ball, where people can eat and drink delicacies, take part in different activities, while children can enjoy amusement parks, different games and workshops. A wide selection of programmes is available this year. Among others, the Great Race of race cars, the Tabán May Day picnic, the doggy picnic at Hajógyári Island, the May Day picnic at the Szentendre Open Air Museum or any other May Day picnic in the centre of countryside cities, villages.

Source: Daily News Hungary

Words with May. Do you know what they mean?

1. mayflower

 

2. may bush

 

3. may apple

 

4. may bug

 

5. mayfly

 

6. maypole

 

7. mayhem

 

8. maybe

 

9. Mayday!

 

 

Key

1. mayflower

amerikai tojásbogyó

2. may bush

galagonya

3. may apple

mandragóra

4. may bug

májusi cserebogár

5. mayfly

kérész

6. maypole

májusfa

7. mayhem

káosz, felfordulás

8. maybe

talán

9. Mayday!

S.O.S, Segítség!

Vocabulary

Labour Day

a munka ünnepe

glorious

dicsőséges

procession

felvonulás

maypole mounting

májusfa állítás

Industrial Revolution

ipari forradalom

to demand

követelni

reduction

csökkentés

protest

tiltakozás

to take a toll of

áldozatokat követelni

indignation

felháborodás, tiltakozás

commemoration

megemlékezés

trade union

szakszervezet

externals

külsőségek

graduation

ballagás, iskola elvégzése

to imply

jelezni

courting

udvarlás

branch

ág

revival

feléledés, újjászületés

whip

facsemete

trunk

fatönk

to mount

felállítani

judge

bíró

priest

pap

ribbon

szalag

handkerchief

zsebkendő

gilded eggs

festett, díszített tojás

well-sweep

kútágas

to carve

faragni, vésni

joint

egyesült, közös

confidential

bizalmas

to disfigure

elcsúfítani, megrongálni

periderm

kéreg

delicacy

finomság

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