Pentecost in the Nagybereg Ethnographic Museum

On May 24 Pro Cultura Subcarpathica held its season-ending program in the Nagybereg Ethnographic Museum.

Hungarian Pentecost traditions are part of the religious holiday, when Christians celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The holiday also symbolizes the culmination of spring. People hang green branches on the fences and in some place young men give a decorated May tree to their loved woman on the last night of April. Beside these, there are many other traditions connected to this holiday.

A significant part of these traditions’ origin is available only in books. Therefore, nowadays it’s the cultural experts’ responsibility to introduce them to the younger generation.

Each year the Nagybereg Ethnographic Museum holds a Pentecost event to celebrate this precious holiday. During the last decade of the house’s existence, it became a season-ending session, where, in addition to handicrafts, participants can take part in different contests, games and joint dancing and singing. As a result, most of the young people are familiar with the customs of Pentecost, they are aware of why we follow certain traditions on certain days.

This year, about 70 schoolchildren participated in the event organized by Pro Cultura Subcarpathica. Children came from Halábor, Beregszász and Nagybereg.

At the beginning of the event, Péter Erdei, consul of the Hungarian Consulate in Beregszász, greeted the attendees. In his speech, he drew attention to the importance of festive traditions. As he said, tradition is the key to unity, and this is especially true for Hungarians living abroad.

Dancers of the Tulipán Hungarian Folk Art School in Nagybereg started the event with songs and then they performed a circle dance together with every participant of the session.

The participants could choose from three types of craft sessions. They had the chance to weave baskets, make Pentecost roses out of paper or learn how to work with felt.

The boys could try some folk games. A total of 12 young men compared their strength, skill and knowledge and competed for the title of King of Pentecost. The players had to pass five tests: stilt walking, target shooting, sack jumping, folk song and the so-called Toldi trial. The latest proved to be the most difficult. The last two players with the most points took part in a tug-of-war, which decided who would be the winner.

At the same time, traditional sweets were being prepared in the kitchen. According to the traditions of Nagybereg, curded pastry with dill were baked in the furnace.

The event was organized by Pro Cultura Subcarpathica, with the association of Bethlen Gábor Fund and with the professional partnership of the Subcarpathian branch of the House of Traditions Network.

Adél Gál