Monday, December 21, 2015

MopDog Monday: Hungarian Star Wars

Okay, so this is something that has been going around on Hungarian social media for about a week now. Since everything is about Star Wars this week, I thought I might as well post it here. It's untranslatable, but oh well.

So, the pictures are the glorious result of the art of one Marton Ádám Marton (click for his FB page). He decided to create some Star Wars fan art with a Hungarian twist. The art style is a copy of a very famous, classic Hungarian cartoon series titled Hungarian Folktales that aired between 1977 and 2011. It is probably the most well known and most beloved of our classic cartoon tradition, and the art style is recognizable to pretty much everyone. If you want to watch some of the folktales, click here. Some of them even have English subtitles.

What MAM did, brilliantly, was taking scenes from New Hope, and drawing them in the style of Hungarian Folktales. Observe:

(Original image here)

(Original image here)
The caption reads "Why are you rebelling?" but in an untranslatable archaic Hungarian dialect that you mostly hear in folktales.

And my absolute favorite:
(Original image here)
Caption reads: "Let the puli win!"

Even Hungarians know that Han shot first:
(Original image here)

Go to his FB page and share the love. Show your friends how culturally enlightened you are.

Bonus for nerds
Here are some useful Star Wars phrases in Hungarian that you can show off at a nerd party:

Réges-rég, egy messzi-messzi galaxisban (A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away)

Az Erő legyen veled (May the Force be with you)

Én vagyok az apád (I am your father)

Hagyjuk nyerni a pulit (Let the puli win)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

MopDog Advent: Hungarian Christmas carols IV.

Last weekend before Christmas! That means, this is my last MopDog Advent post for the year. You can find the previous ones here!

Here is a popular wintertime children's song - I use it sometimes when I tell winter stories. It is a poem written by famous and beloved children's poet Gazdag Erzsi.

Snow is falling

Snow is falling, snow is falling,
It's a dream from a children's tale,
Santa is blowing frost
Sitting on a tree branch

The little rabbit is shivering
Curled up on the ground
She does not mind if snow falls
As long as the hunter doesn't come

A small wren hides
Up on a tree branch
and chirps happily
"There will be sunshine again in the summer!"

Monday, December 14, 2015

MopDog Monday: How to spot witches with this 1 easy trick

There is a saying in Hungary: "Lassan készül, mint a Luca széke" (Takes a long time to make, like Luca's chair). Since its origin is directly related to the Christmas season - namely, December 13th, which was yesterday - I thought it would be worth a post.

December 13th is St. Lucy's feast day. All over Europe, there are various customs connected to Lucy (or Lucia), light, and demons and witchcraft (because that's how Catholics roll). In Hungary, specifically, Luca's day is a very important point of Advent.

On Luca's feast day, a craftsman might begin making a special chair. It is made of 13 pieces, and it has to be completed over the course of 13 days. It is made of 9 or 13 types of wood, including oak, linden, ash, beech, cheery, hornbeam, larch, blackthorn, juniper, sycamore, pear, European cornel, fir, locust, Austrian oak, and rosewood (or, obviously, some combination of these). It is not allowed to put any nails in the chair; it has to be held together with wooden pegs instead. The chair is relatively small, and either circular with 3 legs, or rectangular with four legs.

Once Luca's chair was completed (on Christmas day), the craftsman was supposed to take it to Midnight Mass (or to the crossroads at midnight). It was believed that if they stood on it, they could see witches for what they truly were - having horns, antlers, feathers, etc. Once the person noted who the witches were, he had to pick up the chair and run for his life (obviously). One way to slow down the witches that were no doubt chasing him, he had to throw poppy seeds over his shoulder - witches are obligated to stop and count them. Once safely home, the chair had to be burnt to ash.

Some people still hold this custom - more out of tradition than actual belief. After all, someone yelling "I KNEW IT!" during Christmas mass goes over so well every time...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

MopDog Advent: Hungarian Christmas carols III.

Over the course of Advent, I am posting some Hungarian Christmas music every Sunday. You can find the previous posts here!

Okay, so this one is not a folk tune, but it is one of my childhood favorites (we had it on cassette tape!)
It was originally a poem written by one of our most famous poets, József Attila (1905-1937).
A music group named Kormorán put it to music for their Christmas album in 1985.

And this one even has an official English translation! I am copying it from this site.

Kings of Bethlehem (English)

Little Jesus, God bless Thee, God bless Thee,
Royal kings we are all three.
Above us shone a blazing star,
on foot we’ve come from very far.
A little lamb so surely said
that Jesus Christ lay here in bed.
My name is King Melchior.
Help me, help me, my dear Lord.

Good day to you, Son of God, Son of God,

Silly old priests we are not.
News of your birth has travelled far,
King of the poor we’ve heard you are.
Hence our little visitation,
heaven’s kingdom’s our salvation.
My name’s Jasper and I think
I’m a kind of worldly king.

Greetings to you, Saviour, Saviour,

Our land is much sunnier.
All our sausage we have eaten,
our fine boots look weatherbeaten,
six handfuls of gold we have got,
also incense in a big pot.
King Balthazar, yes, that’s me:
The Saracen of the three.

Flushes-blushes sweet Mary, sweet Mary,

little mother she’s happy.
Casting down her eyes she peers
at her Jesus through her tears;
hear the shepherds’ music-playing,
feeding time bears no delaying.

"Kindly three kings make your bow,

I must bid you farewell now."
1976, Hundred Hungarian Poems, Albion Editions, Manchester

(Note: In the last verse, the Hungarian language is more direct: instead of 'feeding time bears no delaying' it actually says 'it is time to breastfeed [the baby]' which I always thought was very cute - Mary kicking everyone out because it is boobs time)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Look at this cool thing!

Look at this! It is a trailer for a 3D animated movie summarizing Hungarian history from the beginnings until the 20th century.
Looks pretty spiffy.

Monday, December 7, 2015

MopDog Monday: Flood of blood, crying orphans, fratricide: The Hungarian national anthem

Well, as long as there is a prize for "Most Depressing National Anthem," we have totally got it.
Everybody is good at something, right?...
Well, Hungarians are world champions at self pity.
We even wrote a national anthem about it.

The creator of Prezi (who is Hungarian) made a very controversial statement this week: He claimed that it was about time for Hungary to get a new, more optimistic national anthem. Of course he immediately ended up under a dogpile of logical, cool-headed, educational Internet debate (as you do) and was not at all screamed at and called a traitor to the Motherland. 

Without weighing in on whether or not a national anthem should be changed on account of being pessimistic, I just wanted to post the lyrics of our current Hungarian anthem here, and let you decide what you think about it (and the statement above). 


("From the stormy centuries of the Hungarian nation")
Written by Kölcsey Ferenc, 1823; adopted as the official national anthem in 1844.
English lyrics based on the literal translation available on Wikipedia, tweaked by me.

O God, bless the Hungarian
With joy and with bounty
Extend over it your guarding arm
During strife with its enemies
Long torn by ill fate
Bring upon it a year of joy
This nation has suffered for all sins
Of the past and of the future!

You brought our ancestors up
Over the Carpathians' holy peaks
By You was won a beautiful homeland
For Bendeguz's blood(line)
And wherever flow the waters of
The Tisza and the Danube
The heroic offspring of Árpád
Rose up and flourished. 

For us on the plains of the Kuns
You made the ripe wheat ripple
In the vineyards of Tokaj
You dripped sweet nectar
Our flag you often planted
On the wild Turk's battlements
And under Mátyás' grave army moaned
Vienna's "proud fort."

Ah, but for our sins
Anger flared up in Your bosom
And You struck with Your lightning
From Your thundering clouds
Now the plundering Mongols' arrows
You swarmed over us
Then the Turks' slave yoke
We took upon our shoulders.

How often came from the mouths
Of Osman's barbarian nation
Over the bones of our defeated army
A victory song!
How often did your own son attack
My homeland, upon your breast,
And you became because of your own sons
Your own sons' funeral urn!

The fugitive hid, and after him
The sword reached into the cave
Looking everywhere he could not find
His home in his homeland
Climbs the mountain, descends the valley
Sadness and despair his companions
Sea of blood beneath his feet
Ocean of flame above.

Castle stood, now a heap of stones
Happiness and joy have fled,
Groans of death, weeping
Now sound in their place.
And Ah! Freedom does not bloom
From the blood of the dead,
Torturous slavery's tears fall
From the burning eyes of the orphans!

Pity, O Lord, the Hungarians
Who are tossed by waves of danger
Extend over it your guarding arm
On the sea of its misery
Long torn by ill fate
Bring upon it a joyful year
They who have suffered for all sins
Of the past and of the future!

Okay, foreigners, fess up: On a scale of ramen dinner to The Little Match Girl, how depressing do you find our anthem?
And now, listen to the music.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

MopDog Advent: Hungarian Christmas carols II.

Oh look, it's already MopDog Advent again! Here is another traditional Hungarian Christmas carol for you:

(You are probably aware by now that our Christmas songs are indeed very much religious. No Santa in sight, he got done with Hungary on December 6th. We are on the priority list.)

Shepherds, shepherds

Shepherds (shepherds) with joy
Are hurrying to Jesus in Bethlehem
They greet the baby
Who came to deliver all men

The chorus of angels is calling us too
All faithful hearts should hear it
We all bless the baby Jesus
And like the faithful shepherds we praise him

Welcome, little Jesus, our hope
Who delivered us today
Brought the time of true faith
And opened up your Holy Father's Heaven

Praise and faith to the Father
And the Son who was born for us
And to the comforting Holy Spirit
And the One God in the Holy Trinity