While most nations celebrate New Year’s Eve, Hungarians call the last day of the year Szilveszter. Making noise in Hungary is said to bring good luck, but there is a story that is linked to this tradition. And if you read the full article, there is a surprise hidden information in it, too. Find out which beverage has a history.
To let go of the past year’s burdens and welcome the joy in the new one, people celebrate worldwide. They have many customs, traditions, and hopes for the luck and happiness the next year will bring. But while most nations call the last day of the current year New Year’s Eve, Hungarians call it Szilveszter.
This name is of Roman-Latin origin and means man living in a forest. It was a rare name in the 1990s, but in the 2000s, until around 2004 it was among the top 100 most popular names. Following that year, it did not remain among the top 100 names anymore.
The last day of the year was named after Pope Sylvester I, who was fulfilling his duty from 314 until his death in 335. He passed away on 31 December. When he was serving as a pope, Roman emperor Constantine the Great stopped the persecution of Christians and made the church the number one institution.
On New Year’s Eve people make noise to ward off the bad spirits. Although, there are some Hungarian folklore stories that link the noise to rumours or legends about certain historical events.
At Hajdúszoboszló, the tradition of making noise goes back to the era of Turkish armies attacking Hungary. The men were at war, and the Turkish were approaching the Hungarian city. As the story goes, the army came on the last day of the year and women made noise to mislead and scare the Turkish army away. This is why people say goodbye to the year with a lot of noise.
Another story tells that on 31 December 1660 the city was attacked but the Hungarian men won the battle and chased away the robbers. In the meantime it got dark, and the weather was foggy. The families that stayed at home made noise to help the men get home.
A less heroic version tells the story of children and women, who were scared, thus made noise. The loud noise made the attackers believe that the enemy consisted of more people. The Hungarians won according to this version of the story as well. To make sure the brave men get home, a lamp was placed in the tower.
Another common thing we all share, though, is drinking champagne. But what is the story behind it?
Unfortunately, unlike many traditions, this one is not Hungarian. A story says that it was invented by a French monk in the 1600s. The bubbly drink could be produced with difficulty and in small quantities only, thus it was very expensive. Therefore, champagne symbolizes the wish to live well and in wealth in the New Year.
Source: cikcakk.hu, jelesnapok.oszk.hu, szilveszter.hu