Hungarian Corpus Christi Feast Tradition

GP’s family is from Hungary. His father is a first generation American, and his aunt collected Hungarian family traditions that she then passed on to GP. They are no longer practiced by anyone in the family, in fact, they stopped practicing most of them after World War II. However, the stories of the traditions and customs are still passed down to family members, and collected by GP’s aunt.

“On the Feast of Corpus Christi, which falls in June and is celebrated on a Sunday, the people of a parish decorate about 3 shelters made of branches of fresh bloomed trees, inside they place a table to make an alter, these are usually right on the parish grounds. During the Mass the priest places the host in the monstrance (which is consecrated) for the adoration of the faithful.  First a group of small girls, in their white dresses and veils with baskets of fresh flowers, leads the procession out of church–altar boys follow with one swinging incense, the priest carrying the monstrance under a canopy supported by four poles and carried by men–the faithful all leave the church singing on their way to the first shelter. A special service is held and they proceed to the next shelter–after the last shelter they go back into church and services are concluded. After Mass they have booths set up outdoors and they sell “Maces Kolocs,” a large cookie that has a colorful paper figure put on with frosting that is shaped like Christ, Mary, Heart etc., which is only sold at this time. In the afternoon and evening they have outdoor dancing and food and it usually lasts all night. This is the first Sunday celebration, after which each Sunday all summer in all the towns and cities they hold their own feasts.”

Catholicism was a very important part of their heritage, and the detailed preparations and processions surrounding the feast attest to this. There is food made only for this event, and then celebrations, making it a very unique celebration of a Catholic event that is also associated with their Hungarian roots.