Folk Dance – Folk Fayres – Museums
With many children learning folk dancing, and the Kodály method of singing taught in every school, Hungarian folk culture is far from being a past relic. Students worldwide come to study at the International Kodály Institute (see Music tours). Hungarian folk culture is colourful, vibrant and very much alive.
Folk Dance performances
Hungarian folk dancing is a colourful, lively spectacle, well-worth seeing. Folk instruments are used, and the dancers often sing while dancing. Dances from many areas of Hungary and beyond its present borders are performed in the traditional dress representing each of these regions.
There are daily performances at the spectacular Duna Palota (Danube Palace) near the river.
Dance House Meeting & Fayre
Every year (usually around Easter), Budapest hosts a Dance House Meeting – Hungarians come from surrounding countries (Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia) where the large numbers of Hungarians who live there still preserve their traditions. At this annual meeting there are dance performances as well opportunities for visitors to join in and learn some dance steps.
A huge array of folk wares are also bought and sold at this gathering, while the multitude of costumes from the various Hungarian regions are a sight to see.
Hungarian Heritage House
The Hungarian Heritage House provides a centre for both the study and practice of Hungarian traditional arts and crafts alongside singing and dancing. The Hungarian State Folk Dance Ensemble performs here, while the institution organises dance houses (for the public), courses and conferences. As well as a small museum, all sorts of crafts can be learnt here from basket making, weaving, gypsy music and much more.
Szentendre Open-air Museum (Skanzen)
The Open-air Museum just outside the capital, in picturesque Szentendre, comprises a collection of buildings brought from the many regions of the country, illustrating the way of life in these areas. Houses with their furniture, clothing, kitchen and farming equipment, bring the rural way of living to life.
There are also many special festival days where visitors can try out crafts and eat the food produced in the museum.
(The town of Szentendre, which lies on the Danube, is also well-worth visiting – see General Tours for a description.)
Easter Fayre & Traditions
The Easter period sees many craft stalls appear in the centre of town as well as in the castle district. A visit to the Skanzen open-air museum in Szentendre provides an opportunity to witness Hungarian folk traditions of the season and participate in some traditional crafts.
Budapest’s Ethnographic Museum contains folk culture from many parts of the world, but the permanent exhibition of Hungary’s rich folk culture is varied and colourful. The exhibit comprises costumes, photographs and furniture, together with artefacts and implements illustrating the everyday life in rural Hungary.
The Zsigmond Kun Folk Collection
This museum is in the area of Budapest called Óbuda, or Old Buda. It traces the history of the area through its traditions and artefacts going back to Turkish times, and includes many traditional folk implements and furnishings through the ages.