Sunday, January 6, 2008

Christmas "Karácsony"

Well, the winter holiday was definitely interesting but I had fun as well. I will first tell you about Christmas Eve, which is when Hungarians generally do all the things that make Christmas in Hungary unique.

It was a great day... The day before I spent the whole day Christmas shopping for Alex, Teag, my host mom, and Nóri, my host sister. For my host mom, I bought two elf candles since she loves candles and a bottle of Gucci perfume. She almost cried when she opened it.
Yesterdays festivities started with tree decorating. We played some modern Hungarian Christmas music and put szaloncukor, Hungarian Christmas chocolates wrapped in colorful foil wrappers on paperclips to hang on the tree. Then we hung ornaments in such an excess that when we were done, I wasn't sure whether the tree was more red or green.

An hour or so later, we put sparklers in the tree and lit two of them with the lights off. When they finished, the lights came on and we kissed each other and said, "Boldog Karácsonyt!" Then we opened gifts.

Afterwards, we had dinner. Erika cooked a salmon, fried chicken filled with plum sauce, mashed potatoes, and potato salad. Everything was delicious. Then, for dessert, she made a log cake with dark chocolate icing and little mushrooms sticking up all over it. Inside were swirls of chocolate icing and chocolate cake.

To end the nice day, Erika, Nóri, and I went on a walk. No one was out so all was peaceful. There was about a centimeter of sonow on everything so it made it feel even more magical. The lake was frozen over so Erika and I walk on it. We went to the Klinikák (where Nóri and Csaba were born) and back. It was great.

A day before Christmas Eve, my uncle took me to Budapest for a day with his family and I was able to try the traditional Hungarian fish soup (Halászlé) It was so good and it didn't really taste like fish. After going to the restaurant, we went to Parliament and to a place called Bethlehem Ház were people dressed up and told the Christmas story. They sang Christmas songs in Hungarian and it was fascinating. I really feel close to my uncle and I will be sad to say goodbye to his family. He came the day after Christmas to our house and we had another Christmas celebration. His whole family sang Christmas carols while the sparklers were lit. Afterwards, since my host sister participated in a Domino competition a month ago, my uncle made a new competition between my sister and him. It was really cute and my uncle ended up winning (until his tower toppled)