Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Share a kiss with whut now?!

If you are familiar with Coca Cola's #KissHappiness and #ShareaKiss campaign, you probably know that it is an endless source of hilarious memes, as well as a great mess in all grocery stores (since it makes people dig around to find specific names, and spill bottles everywhere).
Well, the campaign has now hit Hungary:

Fail No. 1: It is impossible to translate
Since Hungarian language changes the form of the subject of a sentence, instead of just putting names/words on the bottles, they would have to put their subject forms, and that's not fun for anyone. (Example: Instead of "Csenge" which is my name, the bottle would say "Csengével"). So now the slogan in Hungarian says: "A kiss for you too, [...]" It sounds awkward.

Fail No. 2: People tried to be creative
After five minutes of browsing bottles in the store, I have come across the following options for people to share a kiss with:

Little Brother (right) (Lannister much?)
Ex (stay out of my personal life, Coke)
Friend with benefits (left) (my mom paid for this one with my father's card)
Mr. Trainer (isn't that a conflict of interest?)
Spori (I have no clue what this means, it's not a name and not even a word)
Stranger (now that's just creepy)

UPDATE:
Another trip to the store yielded more results. They are (from left to right):
Miss No Filter (in English, because it doesn't exist in Hungarian)
Bébibogyó (Babyberry - it's a pet name thing)
Gólkirály (Goal king - it's a soccer thing)
Bro (Bro)
Exem (my ex)
Flúgos (Idiot)
Kommentbajnok (comment champion - the guys in Marketing know the Internet!!)



On the upside, we already have a meme version of the poster that says "I have kissed Viktor"
Because our glorious leader needs to be on every wall.


Monday, July 27, 2015

MopDog Monday: Southern Hungarian Historical Confusion

I am back from a storytelling conference in Greece, so I finally have time to continue posting MopDog Monday. Thank you for your patience!

Those who followed my blog during this year's A to Z probably got the idea that a lot of medieval Hungarian history has to do with the Turkish wars. There are still many places in the country that carry the signs of Ottoman occupation: We have mosques, Turkish era baths, minarets, and of course tales and legends. This is especially true in Southern Hungary. Recently I took a trip with my family to those parts (my mother's side of the family is from there), and visited some places that were too great not to mention. Especially because, although it was a weekend, we barely saw any tourists around.
So, in case you ever get the chance to come to Hungary, and you want to see things outside of Budapest, here are my top 3 choices for the Southwest:

Pécs
A large and very beautiful city, proud of its cultural events. The most well-known attraction is the mosque of Pasha Quasim, commonly referred to in Hungarian as the Djami. It is beautifully restored. Pécs also has one of our UNESCO World Heritage sites: The early Christian cemetery, filled with Roman era Christian mausoleums, with wall paintings, all encompassed within one brand new museum building.

Siklós
A castle that saw a lot of fighting over the centuries, and has been restored to its full glory recently. It is well worth a visit; the view from the walls is amazing, there are great exhibitions inside, a Gothic chapel, and there is even a rose garden that belonged to a famous lady in the era of the Turkish wars. At the bottom of the hill below the castle, there is another mosque, still in use by the local Bosnian community, and restored and furnished with the help of the Turkish government after spending a couple of centuries as a barn.

Szigetvár
An important site in Hungarian history: Our most famous Baroque epic is written about the siege of Sziget in 1566. It was a swamp castle during the Turkish wars. The Hungarian defenders fought to the very last, and then broke out of the inner castle in a heroic last stand, and all perished in the fight (dear Peter Jackson, please take note). Incidentally, the Turkish sultan also died during the siege in his tent; the two great military leaders, facing off to the death, never got to meet on the battlefield, but they both died on it. There is now a monument commemorating both of them, and the castle is being restored with a park, a walkway, a museum, and the mosque that the Turks built inside. It is very peaceful now, and the surrounding town is nice too.

It is interesting to visit these places and reflect on history. A lot of our history and folklore has to do with the fight to the death against the Ottoman Empire; and yet, in the distance of centuries, now we get to admire Turkish culture, marvel at their architecture and art, and respect their side of the story as well.

Monday, July 13, 2015

MopDog Monday: Hungary gives weird names to places

Disclaimer up front: Most of these place names don't mean what you think they mean. When they were named, the words probably meant something entirely different - the meaning is just lost on our current generation, who uses the same words in a completely different context. Making them funny, weird, confusing, or downright hilarious.
Here is a short list of the weirdest town/village/city names in Hungary:
(For a bonus, try to answer "Where are you from?" with each)

Baj (Trouble)
Bugyi (Panties)
Büdöskútpuszta (Plains With A Stinking Well - doesn't that sound just charming)
Heréd (Your Testicle)
Hidegség (Coldness)
Kéthely (Two Places)
Lábatlan (Legless)
Leányfalu (Girl Village)
Meggyespele (Dormouse With Sour Cherries)
Nagyfenék (Big butt)
Nyúl (Rabbit)
Ondód (Your Sperm)
Pogányszentpéter (Pagan Saint Peter)
Pokol (Hell)
Pornóapáti (Porno Abbey, please do not Google that)
Rinyaszentkirály (Freakout Saint King)
Rum (Rum)
Simaság (Smoothness)
Sonkád (Your Ham)
Szalonna (Bacon)

Monday, July 6, 2015

MopDog Monday: Headbutts and infinite possibilities

Still on the topic of exotic sayings: Today, kids, we're going to learn how to threaten someone with a headbutt, the true Hungarian way.
These very creative threats have been the touchstone of linguistic invention for years. Their entire point is to promise a seriously painful headbutt to your opponent in a way that will go down in language and pop culture history. Now, repeat after me.

Lefejellek, mint...
("I'll crash my head on you like...")

... an ostrich on the asphalt.
... a drunk soul on the doorknob of Heaven.
... the Little Mermaid on a coral reef.
... a mole on the well.
... a beginner bumblebee on a bellflower.
... a turtle on a strawberry.
... a squirrel on a branch.
... a tadpole on the pier.
... the Iron-Nosed Witch on a magnetic table (I'll write about the Iron-Nosed Witch later, I promise)
... the cuckoo on the locked clock door (this one doubles as a tongue twister)
... a mole on the automatic hoe.
... a whale on an iceberg.

Honestly, the list goes on forever; some are more tasteful than others. Alternately, they can also be applied to describing painful accidents in an evocative way (as in, "I hit my head like...").


Now, go forth and practice.


Monday, June 29, 2015

MopDog Monday: Hungarian stars

No, not the singing and dancing kind. I wanted to make a post about Hungarian constellations. Most cultures have their own ideas about the stars; here are some of ours:

1. The Milky Way
When we don't simply call it Tejút (Which literally means Milky Way), it has some pretty fun names. Hadak Útja (Way of the Warriors) has an old story attached to it about long-dead warriors returning to help their people in the hour of need. They also call it Drunk Man's Road and sometimes say there is a bend in it because Jesus Christ walked around a drunkard who wanted to pick a fight with Him (in other versions, Jesus himself was drunk). Our Fairy Queen is commemorated in Tündér Ilona vászna (Tündér Ilona's linen) and Tündérek Útja (Fairy Road).
My personal favorite, however, is milk-related: Baby Jesus drank too much breast milk, and threw it up. Because who has not had a baby incident that involved barfing?

2. The Big Dipper
Commonly known as Göncölszekér, Göncöl's cart. Göncöl in some stories was a táltos (shaman, wise man) who helped people in various ways, until his cart broke, and no one was willing to help him out. He moved to the sky after that.
In other versions St. Peter used the cart to go and steal straw. He spilled some of the stolen goods on the way home - that became the Milky Way.

3. Cassiopeia
The Tavern. Hence all the drunk people up there.

4. Sirius
One of the most well-known ones, this one is usually a girl. Some call it Sánta Kata (Limping Kate), Limping Girl, or Orphan Girl.

5. Pleiades
We call them Fiastyúk (a hen with chicks). I always thought it was cute, although not very poetic.

6. Cepheus
One of the stars (Alderamin) in this constellation is commonly referred to as Nyüveskutya (mangy dog). This has to take the cake in "least poetic star names." I mean, who looked at the sky and came up with that?!

7. Berenice's hair
This less well known constellation was named in Hungarian after the Tatar invasion (Tatárdúlás). Because we like to project depressing things up onto the sky, apparently.

8. Polaris
The North Star. Sometimes called Boldogasszony motollája. Boldogasszony is what we call the Virgin Mary, but it is possible she was some kind of a mother goddess even before Christianity. Motolla is a traditional spinning tool. The idea probably came from how the sky seems to spin around this star.

9. Aldebaran
Sometimes called Boszorkány szeme (the witch's eye) and sometimes Bujdosók lámpása (lantern of exiles).

10. The Sun
Sometimes traditionally (and probably jokingly) called Szőlőérlelő csillag (grape-ripening star), Ruhaszárító csillag (star that dries the clothes). Technically, they were not wrong!