Monday, March 28, 2016

MopDog Monday: The Folk Art of Asking Consent

Today is the last MopDog Monday before the start of the A to Z Challenge! That means it has been a whole year since I began this blog series. And Hungary has given no sign of running out of weirdness any time soon. Fun.

Today, incidentally, is also Easter Monday - the infamous Hungarian holiday which involves dousing women in water and getting rewarded for it. I have already blogged about this traditional fertility-inducing wet t-shirt contest in detail, so today, I'm going to talk a little bit about sprinkling poems.

As I have said before, today is the day when boys and young men go around, knocking on doors, and sprinkling women with water or perfume to keep the fresh. Part of the ritual is the locsolóvers (sprinkling poem), a little rhyme asking for the women's permission (CONSENT IS IMPORTANT, PEOPLE).

Traditionally, the most commonly known ones go thus:

Zöld erdőben jártam, 
Kék ibolyát láttam,
El akart hervadni,
Szabad-e locsolni?

I walked in the green woods,
I saw a blue violet,
It was about to wither,
May I sprinkle?

Jó reggelt, jó reggelt,
Kedves liliomszál,
Megöntözlek rózsavízzel,
Hogy ne hervadozzál.

Good morning, good morning,
Dear lily flower,
I'll sprinkle you with rose water
So you don't wither.

And some retro humor:

Zúg a traktor, szánt az eke,
Elvtársné, locsolhatok-e?

The tractor is booming, the the plow is plowing,
Lady Comrade, may I sprinkle?

(I am terrible at translating rhymes, so I didn't even try)

These things are a sort of folk art in Hungary. They are so popular that dozens of websites collect and categorize them; a good sprinkling poem can instantly get you in the good graces of women. In the age of the Internet, even if there is no one around to sprinkle you, people will message you the poems (and maybe the photo of a bucket of water) on Easter Monday.

Meanwhile, some sprinkling poems seem to solely exist for the entertainment of men - some sound like a ransom note, while the "political sprinkling poem," for example, references current events, and the "crude" variety takes "sprinkling" at its.... uhhh, original sense.

Zöld erdőben jártam,
Barna medvét láttam,
Szedte az egrest,
Ide az ötezrest!

I walked in the green woods,
I saw a brown bear,
It was eating gooseberries,
Give me that 5000 bill!

(5000Ft is roughly $18. Per girl. You do the math.)
(I have actually heard this one used during sprinkling.)

Zöld erdőben jártam, 
Orbán Vikort láttam
Király akart lenni,
Szabad-e locsolni?

I walked in the green woods,
Saw Viktor Orbán,
He wanted to be king,
May I sprinkle?

(The best way to explain our prime minister is to say that he is what happens if Trump gets into power)

And finally another domestic classic:

Zöld a moha, zöld a páfrány, 
Meglocsollak házi sárkány!

Moss is green, ferns are green,
I'll sprinkle you, house dragon!

("House dragon" is the term people use for tyrannical wives... or sometimes wives in general. Ironically, of course.)

Happy Easter, everyone!


  1. That's kind of insulting--a man knocks on your door and douses you with perfume so you smell "Fresh?" I guess they don't know you, though, so they aren't necessarily saying you smell! I don't know if that's a way to win a woman over, though, but it's hilarious! And did I read that right? Your prime minister is like Trump? Because I pretty much live in fear that Trump is going to win and YIKES!

    1. Yuuup. We even built a wall on the southern border. Surprise: Doesn't work. :D

  2. a barany huzta gyongyos kocsin-t is!!!!!

  3. "May I sprinkle you" just sounds wrong! LMAO!

    1. No, it sounds exactly what it wants to sound like. XD

  4. Sounds like a fun tradition. Very interesting. :-)