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. One involves a harvest celebration.
“Around the middle of October a big Harvest Dance is always held. The hall is decorated–hanging from the ceiling across the entire hall are strings to which clusters of grapes, pears and apples have been tied. There are boys and girls dressed in Hungarian costumes–it is their job to try and catch someone stealing one of the fruits while they’re dancing. If they do they take them to a special table and they are told how much they have to pay for the fruit (usually a dime in those times). This money went to help out the school and church.”
This is another festival that falls in line with the seasons and the natural harvest of crops, celebrating the bounty. The hanging fruit is a fun twist, especially as a fundraiser that supports the local community and strengthens the community and traditions.