Hungary’s Easter ‘Locsolkodás’
Background on Informant:
She was born and raised in Hungary, but moved to the United States in 1997. She is knowledgable of her roots and has lots of wisdom to share about its’ cultural traditions. She grew up in a religious family who practiced many Easter customs including the Easter ‘locsolas’ (‘sprinkling’)
“During Easter (Húsvét), we have this custom called ‘locsolas’ (sprinkling). Girls are symbolically viewed as flowers, and if they are not sprinkled they risk withering away.
So on Easter Monday, men (dressed in traditional costumes) fill buckets with water and the girls gather in pretty traditional clothing as well and wait for the arrival of the men.
Men also have tradition ‘sprinkling poems’ that they recite. The most popular is this one:
Zold erdobe jartam,
Kek ibolyat lattam,
I went to a green forest,
I saw a blue violet,
It was wilting,
Can I water it?
The girls have to agree to be ‘watered’ and then the men will ‘sprinkle’ them by dumping the buckets of water and the girls will reward them with painted eggs, desserts, and drinks.
However, while it still happens, the buckets of water have evolved into less extreme things such as a spray of perfume or cologne. Although in the countryside they probably still stick to the buckets.
My brother loved this holiday because he got a lot of food and chocolates, I liked it too but the water was always so cold. I used to want to get revenge and splash the boys right back.
But as I got older, people resorted to simpler versions such as spraying perfume.
It is one my favorite traditions because it is so simple and still practiced. It’s all in good fun”
Having grown up in this tradition too, it was interesting to hear a first-hand explanation of the event. For me, it’s more modern now with perfume as a simple way to continue the tradition but it was fascinating listening to my interviewers personal experiences with it.
From researching, I learned that this tradition started as far back as the 2nd century AD, and was a ritual meant to promote fertility and purification. Connecting it back with lessons in and readings studied in class, I definitely saw and was able to understand more clearly how this custom evolved.
I like how this event is sort of a rite of passage and that it is a celebration that everyone in the culture partakes in. I also love how often many of these customs have died out or are dying out in Hungary, but this one remains a strong part of Hungary’s Easter cultural identity and is still very popular. Overall, I think it’s a wonderful traditional that can gather a community for some good fun.
For visual reference: