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The carnival season and celebrations mark the end of the long winter months and welcomes the long awaited spring and new season.
Carnival is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February and the length of it varies from year to year, depending on Easter. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party, feasts, and looking for love for the spring. People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life. In Hungary, the carnival traditions can be traced back to the Middle Ages. The habits varied from regions to region – people living in cities and belonging to the aristocrats preferred the Italian and French style of Carnivals, whereas people from rural areas were influenced by the German/ Austrian traditions. Hence, the name instead of the Italian " Carneval ", is “Farsang”, which is close to the German’s “Fastnacht” and means carnival. Ancient Greek and Roman characteristics can also be recognised in these events.
The customs and habits related to the Hungarian carnival are rituals influenced by several nations and preserved throughgenerations. The majority of the parade, masquerade happens on the last days of Farsang, Carnival Sunday and Monday marks the finale of the parade – these days were also called the “tail” of the Carnival. On these final days the main focus was on having fun, dressing up, fake weddings, upside down world style celebrations. At this time, all agricultural and farm works were suspended and people enjoyed the carefree celebrations of the burial of the winter. After Ash Wednesday, fasting for the Lent was suspended, so that the people tired and hungry from the parades could regain their energy for the Easter Lent by feasting on the carnival leftovers.
Carnival in Hungary
The Carnival season and its traditions in Hungary can be traced back to the 15th Century. As a preparation for the fasting of the Lent, during this time it was pretty much compulsory to have fun, eat and drink as much as you can – and so people did. Like almost everywhere around the world, people dress up for the Carnival and Hungary was no exception. All classes held their own events – mainly in pubs, rented houses, or similar venues. These events were mainly organised by the local single men, in order to find a partner. But everyone chipped in to arrange these gatherings. Girls would bring the party food; guys were in charge of the drinks and entertainment, including music bands. Games, competitions, dance and social events –including weddings- were held at this time of the year in villages. These events provided excellent opportunity for the young and single ones to their meet future husbands/wives. Single girls would prepare with small flower compositions and give them to the single men they fancied. If the attraction was mutual, the guy would pin the little bouquet on his hat. Those who remained without a partner by the end of the event were mocked ruthlessly by spinster jokes and ridiculed publicly. Ouch. In Hungary, the most well-known holiday carnival and parade of Busójárás.
Carnivals around the world
The homeland of the carnival is Italy. Up until this day, one the most famous Carnival event series is the Venice Carnival - with its colourful crowd of mystique masks and entertainment it attracts people from all around the globe. It starts as early as the 26th of December, whereas in Rome there is only 11 days between the first day of the carnival and Ash Wednesday.
Germany’s masquerade balls are also worth mentioning. In Germany, the last Tuesday of the carnival season is called “fool’s Tuesday” AKA Narrenfest, the finale of the masquerade balls. Many legend and folklore comes alive during these last days, including the Weibermühle (wonder mill). According to the story a young man marries to an old and ugly old woman, but the miller of the Weibermühle rewards his hard work by “grinding” back the woman into a beautiful young girl.
The doughnut due to the hungarian traditional carnival meal
You can bake doughnut in many way. You should read the way of baking doughnut in this article: Carnival treats