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EU > Hungary > P?cs

Presents and parties

P?cs, HU (View on map)

Getting to a birthday party without a present would not be very polite in many European countries. In Hungary, it`s the raising of the glasses that counts more than anything else. Presents are preferably liquid and alcoholic, but they may also they represent something home-made; edible or artistic.

Eszter (24):

`Hand-made presents make a nice birthday gift`
Zs?fia (22) will soon have her 23rd birthday. She will have a separate party for her friends and one for her family, who live outside the city: `The party for friends will probably gather about 15 people, most of whom will bring a bottle of something. Maybe one of my girl friends will buy me a present, because I also made her one for her last birthday. Students do not spend a lot of time on presents. That will create something themselves, bring a flower or a bottle of wine. If the present in any way contributes to the party by how funny it is, that`s great. For the family party, I hope my mum will bake a birthday cake. We don`t put one candle for every year of age, but there will be two candles in the shape of numbers. And me having the birthday is obviously entitles to blow them out before we start eating.`

Gift policy
Zs?fia remembers a bow and arrow as one of the best birthday presents she ever got: `My parents gave it to me when I was a small kid. I don`t remember which birthday it was, just the fact that I was wearing green trousers. Ever since, I have been asking presents for my birthday without getting them. I usually tell my friends that I want to have something, then they ask whether that is really what I want, and then I decide I don`t really need it, so I get something else.`

Daniel (28) remembers the time his now ex-girlfriend surprised him with a trip to Croatia, so that he could see the sea for the first time in his life: `I guess that was the best birthday present I ever received. I like surprises, and this was a perfect one.`

Renata (29) will not bother bringing more than a bottle of wine to most of the birthday party she goes to. `I care more about bringing souvenirs when I travel to foreign country. Even if that`s about five times a year, and even if I go somewhere I have already been, I can hardly get away not bringing presents for some of my best friends and family. Birthday presents are only for your few best friends and we don`t have 40 of those like the Greeks do. The present is preferably wrapped in paper and it may have some funny postcard with it. Money is not very acceptable as a birthday present.`

Eszter (24, photo) likes to receive hand-made presents from her friends. She also explains me that people who celebrate their birthday need to announce that they celebrate it at all, because it is not common for people to just drop in on the day itself. `You also need to help them remember. People are more likely to know each other`s name`s days than each others` birthdays, even though the birthdays are more of a reason to have a party.`

Zsombor (20) tells me that `Gratul?lok` is the most appropriate greeting to the person having his or her birthday. Singing is not very common the friends` celebration. `Maybe some older family members may want to sing Happy Birthday - in English because the Hungarian version is quite shitty.`

Zsombor thinks that birthday parties are not much different from other home parties: `They all start with people gathering at somebody`s place, drinking, having fun, dancing and move on to another place to continue the party.` Zsombor also lists the other occasions when presents are likely to be exchanged. Those include name`s days, Valentine`s Day, Mikulas (Saint Nicholas), Christmas and Easter. He explains: `Valentine`s Day is the moment boys buy a flower or some chocolate, maybe take a girl out to a restaurant. Saint Nicholas (6 December) is when parents buy presents for their children, Christmas in the family means buying presents for everybody, Christmas with friends or colleagues usually requires one present for one other person. On Easter, it`s again the parents who buy presents for their children.`

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