Etiquette

Hungarians are almost always extremely polite in their social interactions, and the language can be very courtly – even when doing business with the butcher or having one's hair cut.

  • Greetings Young people's standard greeting to their elders is Csókolom ('I kiss it' – 'it' being the hand, of course). People of all ages, even close friends, shake hands when meeting up.
  • Asking for help Say legyen szíves (be so kind as) to attract attention; say bocsánat (sorry) to apologise.
  • Eating and drinking If you're invited to someone's home, bring a bunch of flowers or a bottle of good local wine.
  • Name days As much as their birthday, Hungarians celebrate their name day, which is usually the Catholic feast day of their patron saint (all Hungarian calendars list them). Flowers, sweets or a bottle of wine are the usual gifts.