Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Wet T-Shirt Day!

(This is a side note. For today's A to Z post, scroll down one.)

It is Easter Monday, which means one very important thing in Hungary: It is Sprinkling Day!
(Easter Monday is a national holiday in Hungary, much like January 1st)
Sprinkling Day, simply put, is the wet t-shit contest of our forefathers. And foremothers. On this day, the boys and young men of the village/town go around visiting houses where girls/women live, carrying buckets of water (classic), bottles of soda water (practical), or vials of perfume (pffft). They knock on your door, and when you open up, they recite a short poem of the "Roses are red, violets are blue" variety, asking your permission to sprinkle you, you gorgeous flower, so you don't wither away this spring. If you say yes, they douse you in water/perfume, and then you pay them in dyed eggs (classic), chocolate (for kids), alcohol (not for kids), or money (practical). Then they move on to the next house and you put on the next shirt. Repeat.

Yes, people, this is a fertility rite. What gave it away?

At the end of the day, all guys go home loaded with gifts, and all girls' hair washing schedules sync up (Nowadays, sprinkling is mostly done with perfume, and if you get twenty different kinds a day, it stinks to high heavens.) My survival technique is to push my little sister out the door first. One time, I woke up to the neighbor's two little boys walking into my bedroom and dumping a glass of water on my head.
Sprinkling Day also tends to turn into a popularity contest: Girls keep count of how many boys showed up at their house. It is, essentially, Valentine's Day meets Spring Break meets Trick-or-Treating.

In some areas girls were allowed to return the sprinkling favor on Easter Tuesday. Sometimes the sprinkling took on more of a trick-or-treat quality: If the sprinklers were not allowed in a house, they would prank the family. According to my grandfather, they once propped up a barrel of water against the front door, and rang the doorbell. (Then again, that might just have been my grandpa, not tradition).

If you know a Hungarian woman, don't forget to sprinkle them today. Keeps 'em fresh.

2 comments:

  1. Interesting! Here in St. Louis, storms are predicted, so I guess Nature is going to sprinkle everybody. <3

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  2. Ooo that's an interesting tradition.

    ReplyDelete