Monday, April 13, 2009

Locsolkodás - Easter Monday in Hungary

Last night I conducted a cross-cultural survey (i.e., I was talking to random international strangers on, and as far as I can tell, locsolkodás (sprinkling) is a uniquely Hungarian tradition. Oh, how lucky for us. Basically, guys get together with their friends and go visit all the women in their lives. At each stop, they recite a short locsolóvers (sprinkling poem) and sprinkle perfume or scented water on the womens' heads, and the women give them kisses, or painted eggs, or pálinka, or all of the above.

The poems range from traditional and a bit quaint:
Zöld erdőben jártam,
kék ibolyát láttam,
el akart hervadni,
szabad-e locsolni?
(I was walking in a green forest, I saw a blue violet, it had started to wilt, may I sprinkle it?)

To modern and quite dirty (this one is pretty tame):
Zöld erdőben jártam,
részeg vagyok, hánytam
Most el fogok dőlni
Nesze bazzeg, kölni!
(I was walking in a green forest, I got drunk and threw up, now I'm going to fall down so here's your damn perfume!)

More traditional ones can be found here or here, funny and dirty ones here. I think they're great for practicing Hungarian and learning lovely new words.

A poem I wrote last year, in honor of this great tradition:
Oh joy, oh yay,
it's "sprinkling" day -
a holiday quite sub-par.
My hair will stink;
the boys will think
what clever men they are.

And an English locsolóvers, written just for me, this morning:
Roses are red,
violets are blue,
if you don't want it,
I won't sprinkle you.


agyvihar said...

Do you know what sprinkling represents in tradition?

It's the symbolic fertilization of women by the men.

Lots of folk customs convery some kind of sexual message and this is no exception.

victorvasylenko said...