The Pentecost is one of the biggest holidays in the spring and it is not only important in the folk traditions but also in the religious lives.

The history of the Pentecost said that not a lot of people know but its name derives from Pentacles which means the 50th day. The reason is simple: the 50th day after Easter, we celebrate this important day.

The 50 days has its reason, too. After the 50th day of Pesach, Jews harvested the first fruits on this day. The Hungarian Pentecost traditions are connected mainly to the Christian holiday but some of the elements, such as the Pentecost king’s naming and the green branch carrying, came from the Pagan times.

As other religious holidays, it is based on Pagan beliefs, in which the Christian religion builds on and it has merged into one common holiday. The Christians celebrate that Jesus’ Holy Spirit came back to the Apostles after it had gone to the Heaven. The Pentecost means joy to the Church and a lot of traditions are connected to it.

The Pentecost’s traditions

The Pentecost king’s naming

The king’s name was gained after the winning of the skill games. By this, the king had the following privileges: The Pentecost’s king was invited for a year all of the weddings, celebrations and holidays; he could drink for free at all the pubs because all of his drinks were paid later on by the community. Usually, he became the lad’s leader in that year.

Spring welcoming

Pentecost is closely connected to flowers. For example, at some places they put flowers or branches to the window’s rim or into the fence (usually elder, Pentecost rose or Jasmine) in order to avoid being hit by a lightning.

Couple selection and suitor’s habits

Suitors have their habits at Pentecost, too. At some places, the suitor has to put a Pentecost rose to the girl’s window. Girls, however, have to make a wreath and hand it over to the lads. Another tradition was called ‘mátkázás’ which meant that the suitor sent a basket of scones and wine to the girl who he liked. If the girl had the same feeling, she sent back a similar basket. At night, the wooing could continue at the balls they have organized at Pentecost.

The tree planting in May and the green branch carrying

Májusfa (Photo:

At some places, they have planted the tree, called ‘májusfa’. And at the places where they had planted the tree on 1st May, they have cut it out at Pentecost. Usually, the community had its own, shared tree and when it was cut out, it was followed by celebration and dances. At other places, they have put green branches at their houses and fences. In some towns, by this tradition they have marked the houses where a single lady could be found but in other places they have only shown their respect for the holiday.

based on article of
translated by Andrea Toth



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