Easter is a holiday that is celebrated in a diverse variety of ways, and it is slightly different in each Catholic country, and wildly different in Orthodox Christian countries. The typical Hungarian Easter is something that has to be seen to be believed, and the colourful traditions and unique activities really set this country apart and give it its own flavour. The best place to experience this kind of old timey Easter celebration is at Hollókő.
Hollókő is located in the heart of Palóc country, a rural oasis that caters to rural tourism, but subsists mainly off of animal husbandry. The Palóc are known to keep the traditions of Hungary alive, and many of them deal in folk trades and handicrafts. The Hollókő is actually a rock formation, and the hills around it and the small town near it, called Ófalu (or “ancient village”) is now a UNESCO heritage site. The Palóc are also known for their excellent soups and hearty meals, their strong Pálinka and their love of wine as well.
At Easter, the main event is a fertility rite in which the young men recite poems about the revitalization of nature and about the flowers in the fields, and then dump buckets of water on the eligible ladies. The boys and girls wear traditional folk costumes, the Palóc equivalent of the Sunday best and it truly is something to behold- it involves many skirts, lace on top of lace, funny hats and some amazing shoes. There is also dancing, egg hunts, mass (which you must attend, no exceptions), and constant feasting, as Easter marks the end of the Lenten fast, as well as the start of Spring, when you need all the energy you can get for the long hard season of work ahead.
The Easter festivities at Hollókő will start on Easter Saturday on the 4th, and will last until Easter Monday on the 6th. There will be live music and cheap accommodations, and each day different folk groups will do their best to outperform the other, and the music and merrymaking will go on until the early morning, in true Hungarian fashion.