(First published on We Love Budapest, 30 December 2014)
For Hungarians food is a very important part of most celebrations and New Year’s is no different. There's also plenty of superstition and tradition around the end of one year and the start of the next, so there’s a suite of lucky meals you can eat including roasted pork, cold pork jelly (“kocsonya”), cabbage rolls and lentil stew. The lentils are eaten at New Year's Eve because they signify wealth in the new year. The pork symbolises luck if eaten on New Year’s Day. Korhely soup (like a cabbage, sausage soup) is great for a hangover and is also a traditional meal eaten on New Year’s Day.
There are also a few other non-food related superstitions mainly about bringing luck, fortune and happiness in the coming year. For example, make lots of noise to scare off evils spirits on New Year's Eve, and on the 1st don’t work or see the doctor to have good luck and good health in the new year. As a tradition, at midnight the national anthem is often sung. Finally after the countdown to midnight is over don’t forget to wish everyone a happy new year by saying ‘Boldog Új Évet Kívánok’ or BÚÉK (pronounced: boo-ehk) for short.
Public street parties in BudapestAs we've already written there are plenty of ways to bring in 2015 with many venues offering special NYE celebrations, but one particularly festive way to spend the night is with thousands of other party-goers, families and and people of all ages at one of the planned open-air street parties. There are three major outdoor street parties often held at Vörösmarty Square, Nyugati Square (where the Railway Station is and where the 4 and 6 trams go) and at the Oktogon intersection (where Andrássy Avenue and the Grand Boulevard meet). Private fireworks displays are often held at these locations, as well as others throughout the city.
Public transportOn New Year’s Eve the usual day time public transport service will apply during the day, but at night there’ll be more frequent services on tram lines 4 and 6, which will run every 3 -5 minutes along the Grand Boulevard, plus many of the usual night buses will be running more frequently. The city will be packed full of people and taxis could be difficult to find - your best bet is public transport.