The most familiar and the most bizarre Hungarian superstitions you've ever heard!

Do you believe in superstitions? Even if you don’t, many folks tend to pause before doing something that might have a touch of superstition. Who wants to tempt fate, right? I definitely don’t! That’s why, when I heard about Hungarian superstitions involving handbags on the floor, I quickly scooped up mine. Even though I’m not big on superstitions, a little voice in my head said, “Better safe than sorry!”

If you’re heading to Hungary, it’s cool to know a bit about Hungarian culture, including their superstitions. 

There are quite a few, some with multiple beliefs tied to one event (like when a spider lands on you). Some are joked about, but others are taken seriously, even today, despite their ancient roots. Our Travel and Home Team found some common and quirky Hungarian superstitions.

One of the most intriguing practices involves chasing away the winter witch! Join us as we delve into the curious rituals and beliefs that have captivated minds for generations.

Bizarre and Familiar Hungarian superstitions, Hungarian culture, travel and home min
Hungarian superstitions, good luck, hungary, travel and home min

It is good luck…

  • if your left eye is itching.
  • if a black cat crosses the road in front of you from right to left.
  • if your right eye twitches. There will soon be a child blessing in the family.
  • if you carry a coin in your purse or wallet so you are never poor.
  • if you find a four-leaf clover.
  • if you first put on your left shoe.
  • if you accidentally drop an egg and it breaks. Good news is on its way!
  • if you come across a wedding ceremony because it brings luck in love and childbirth.
  • if you see a chimney sweep and reach for the nearest button while making a wish.
  • if a horseshoe is placed over a house’s front door. It protects the inhabitants from trouble and disease.
  • if Friday falls on the 13th calendar day. Yes, the exact opposite of general superstitions!

Expect to come into money, …

  • if a spider descends on you because it will bring money to the house.
  • if your left palm is itchy.

Family troubles are looming if any furniture is crunching.

Nightmarish dreams are driven away if a horseshoe is posted in the bedroom.

Ill health and even death are expected…

  • if you do your laundry on Christmas Day.
  • if a picture falls off the wall. The worst is expected when the glass is broken too!

Fast childbirth expected if the water spills out towards the person who will have the child.

Expect to lose money…

  • if your right palm is itchy.
  • if your handbag, purse, or wallet is on the floor. A purse on the floor is money out the door.
  • if your wardrobe door opens automatically.

Good luck, or bad? You decide!

An unexpected guest arrives, …

  • if the door opens by itself.
  • if a spider descends on a human.
  • if you bump your elbow.
Hungarian superstition about money, purse, travel and home min
Hungarian superstitions, bad luck, travel and home min

It is bad luck…

  • if your right eye is itching. Grief is on its way!
  • if a black cat crosses the road in front of you from left to right.
  • if your left eye twitches. I could mean there will be death.
  • if you leave new shoes on the table.
  • if you give someone an empty wallet, and the bad luck is on you because the giver will never be rich.
  • if you drop an egg and it only cracks or stays intact.
  • if you break a mirror because there will be no marriage on the cards for seven years. You have the chance to reverse the bad luck if you collect and bury the mirror shards in the moonlight. That said, some Hungarians believe you will be lucky for seven years, which is once again the opposite of general superstitions around the world.
  • if it suddenly rained on the day of the wedding. South Africans believe it is good luck if you have rain on your wedding day because it is God’s blessing on you!
  • if your house’s door opens to the street, and not inwards. Bad luck will hit the house.
  • if you eat poultry meat on New Year’s Day because the chicken can scrape your luck off the ground.
  • if you break a plate that was not cracked before.
  • if an unmarried person sits at the corner of the table. Forget about getting married for at least seven years.
  • if you walk under an opened triangle ladder unless, of course, you cross your fingers while doing so.

A squabble is expected…

  • if the salt spills unless you throw salt over your left shoulder.
  • if someone has an itchy nose.
  • if a knife falls to the ground.

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Chasing away the winter witch

Ever heard of the wild tradition in Szeged, Hungary, called “Busójárás”? Locals go all out, dressing up as Busós to scare off the winter witch! It’s part of the Busó Carnival, marking the end of winter.

During this two-day celebration, you’ll catch a parade, witch burning, and loads of fun activities for families. But the real showstopper? The parade itself, with Busó performers in their traditional costumes and making tons of noise to give winter and the witch a good scare. Usually, the parade route starts from Dugonics Square on late Saturday afternoon, winding through Kárász Street and Széchenyi Square, before wrapping up at Szent István Square, where they light up the puppet-witch in a grand bonfire.

Now, what’s up with this winter witch (known as “kiszebáb”)? Picture a straw puppet, often shaped like a witch, symbolizing all things gloomy – illness, bad vibes, you name it. And get this: burning the winter witch, amidst all the hullabaloo, is said to banish the bad stuff, kick winter to the curb, and welcome spring with open arms.

Best part? Everyone’s invited to join the fun! You can even swing by Dugonics Square ahead of time and pin a note to the winter witch, jotting down any negativity you want to boot out of your life. Those notes? They’ll be part of the big burn-up during the Saturday ritual. How cool is that?

Chasing the winter witch away in Szeged, Hungarian superstitions

And that’s the scoop on Hungarian superstitions!

You’ll find that many of these beliefs are shared in different cultures too. Every culture has its own set of superstitions, some of which can get pretty quirky. While some folks trust in God above all else, others still hold onto certain superstitions, just to keep that good ol’ Lady Luck on their side!

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