Hungary - Magyarország World View

Hungary - Magyarország World View

History – The Republic of Hungary traces its history back to the Magyars, a pagan Finno-Ugric tribe that arose in central Russia and spoke a language that evolved into modern Hungarian. It is highly disputed by historians over the exact original homeland of these early people. In ancient times, they probably lived as nomadic tent-dwelling hunters and fishers. The Carpathian Basin and parts of Transylvania southwest of the basin had been settled for thousands of years before the Magyars' arrival. They arrived in this area in one of the last waves of Great Migrations. After its conquest, ending in 900 AD, it seemed for a time that the Magyars would not be able to adapt themselves quickly enough to settle in Europe. Prince Géza began the great task of linking his country with the development of Europe, and his son, King Stephen (1000-1038) sealed the process by having his people convert to Christianity. King Stephen married a German princess, and he received the crown used at the coronation (which is featured among the national emblems on the coat of arms) from the Pope. The Mongolian invasion of 1241-1242, which swept through Europe, was the first great disaster for Hungary. The advance of the Ottoman Turks in Europe helped the rebuilding of the country. From the fifteenth century, they threatened Hungarian territory, and by 1686, they were driven out. Prior to World War I, Hungary joined with Austria to form the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The outcome of the war brought an end to this union in 1918, devastated the population, and resulted in the loss of much of Hungary's territory. When World War II began less than thirty years later, Hungary joined with the Germans and Italians, hoping to reclaim the lands lost in the previous world war. Early in 1945, the German forces in Hungary were defeated by the Soviets. The Soviet victory foreshadowed the onslaught of the communist regime, which was to rule Hungary for the next four decades until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Culture - Most Hungarians, including city dwellers, dress very much in the attire of people in Western Europe and North America. At one point in time, many rural people dressed in colorfully embroidered costumes, but now they are only worn on special occasions. Hungarians value music and opera as a popular pastime. They are most famous for their lively folk music. Like many European and North American nations, Hungarians value reading and chatting with friends over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine or beer. They value such sports as basketball, fencing, volleyball, swimming, boating, fishing, and most importantly, soccer.

Population - Hungary’s population is about ten million. The Magyars make up 95% of the country’s population. Other groups, from largest to smallest, include Gypsies, Germans, Slovaks, Croats, Serbs, and Romanians. Since the late 1940s, many Hungarians have migrated from rural areas to cities and towns to work in the countries thriving industries. About two thirds of the people live in urban areas. Hungary’s capital Budapest, which also happens to be the largest city, has a population of up to two million.

Religion - Roughly two thirds of the population is Roman Catholic and nearly a quarter of them are Protestant. The largest of Protestant groups include the Reformed (Calvinist) Church and the Lutheran Church. Other religious groups include Catholics of the Byzantine Rite, Jews, and Unitarians. When the communists were in control of Hungary after World War II, they tried to discourage religious worship and placed religious groups under strict control and imprisoned some religious leaders. In the 1960’s the government let go of some of its policies against religion to gain the people’s support. In 1989, the Constitution of Hungary granted the people complete religious freedom.

Language - The official language spoken throughout Hungary is Magyar (also called Hungarian). Members in minority groups, however use their own language among themselves. In some parts of the country, people speak various forms of Magyar. Magyar is Uralic-Altaic language, which is related to Estonian and Finnish.

Power Distance - Hungary is a low-power-distance country. They believe in unique person-oriented individualism and that a relationship drives the business. They also value the idea of working hard and having an inner urge to do something. There is strong pressure on children from parents to achieve and do well with no emphasis on building self-esteem, which can result in perfectionism, ambition, hard-striving, and competitive character. They also believe in creative problem solving with the ability to persevere and survive. Finally, Hungary is a country with a strong preference to avoid risk and change.

Greetings - Hungarians extend warm greetings. If you do not speak their language, greet people with a firm handshake, look them in the eye and say your name. If you know a little or a lot of Hungarian, say “Udvozlom” followed by your name. (eg. Adam Muth vagyok) and “oruloik, hogy magismerhetem.” Translated into English, it means, “I am glad to meet you.” Hungarians also shake hands once more when leaving a rendezvous with someone.

Politeness - If you work for a firm, it is good etiquette to give someone your business card when meeting someone. The cards should show your organizational title as well as any advanced degrees. Expect to swap business cards with every businessperson you meet.

Celebrations - Like many other nations around the world, Hungarians celebrate New Year’s Eve on December 31. They also celebrate Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, All Saints’ Day, and Christmas. In February, they celebrate Farsang where they have costume parties and carnivals all month long and mark the end of winter. City festivals also include a parade and an open-air music concert. On March 15, they celebrate the 1848 Revolution day, which was a fight for freedom against the Habsburg Domination, which later led to War against Austria. Other holiday’s include St. Stephan’s Day on August 20, celebrating the anniversary of their first king taking the throne in 1000 AD, and 1956 Uprising Remembrance Day, celebrating the outbreak of Magyars’ uprising against communist rule.

Guests - If you are invited to someone’s house who is Hungarian, it is always a good idea to bring something for the wife. Flowers and plants are very much appreciated, but never give them chrysanthemums, as they are a symbol of death. A dozen roses, pink, white, or red, are appropriate to thank your hostess. Kids should also receive small gifts if you know them. These gifts may be special candles from your home country, T-shirts with the name of your town, or the latest in preadolescent and adolescent gadgets.

The Elderly - At present there are about as many elderly 60 years or older as children 0-19 years old in Hungary. According to UN population projections, by 2050 the number of persons aged 60 and over in the world will exceed the number of those aged below 15. Since the early 1960s, life expectancy in Hungary has declined with current life expectancy. For males it is 66 years and for females it is 74 years. The primary causes of increased morbidity and mortality are cardiovascular disease, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, cirrhosis, and suicide.

Relationships Between Men and Women - Many relationships have become less committed in modern times due to the rapid rise in divorce and in cohabitation, Men are increasingly less likely to live with their own biological children. Female and male roles are defined accordingly. Since the early 1990s both men and women seem to favor the idea of no or only part time employment for women with children. Whether the wife works full-time or part-time or is a full-time homemaker, she is normally expected to do most, if not all of the household chores and manage to maintain both the home and her children.

Unacceptable Behavior - The idea of sexual harassment is becoming more common in Hungary nowadays. Many Hungarian men prefer to follow the myth of their own macho-ness and are rarely weakened by the feminist dictates and dogma. The problem with sexual harassment in Hungary is that Hungarians are too open-minded and tolerant to make any rushed judgments.

Acceptable Behavior - Many Hungarian men and women practice and excel in the art flirting, regardless of age. Hungarians believe in the idea of personal chemistry. It helps make life bearable and even enjoyable at times. If you are a visitor, you may quite easily become the beneficiary of seduction of a serious sort rather than an active protagonist in flirting.

Kinesics - Displays of eye contact are important for signaling an honest exchange between two people. Shifting eyes are seen as suggesting that another person is untrustworthy or dubious. Showing moderate emotions during a conflict is perceived as honesty and transparency, and can mean the first step toward the resolution of a problem.

Proximics - Hungarians are a moderate high-contact culture socially in close personal relationships. They prefer a medium interpersonal distance of 15 to 25 inches from each other when speaking. Hungary is considered a tactile culture, where a stranger doesn’t think twice about touching you while giving you directions in the street.

Haptics - Touching another's back, shoulders or arms only takes
place in close relationships. Hungarians are often inclined to make well-considered judgments on your character based on the nature, length and vitality of a handshake together with the temperature and moistness of your hand. You must be willing to persistently repeat the image you wish to convey through your handshake.

• Do not swing your arms widely while walking
• Refrain from any form of storytelling or jokes when first meeting someone from Hungary.
• It is not appropriate for two men to kiss each other on the cheek, except for close relatives and certain groups.
• Don’t be surprised to see someone wearing the same outfit two days in a row.
• Do not wander around if you need something when you are someone’s house. Ask for it and don't follow the person who goes into another room to get it for you.


2. Nagel’s Hungary Travel Guide Original Text by Thomas Schreiber Translated into English by Lyton Hundson
1958 Nagel’s Publishers New York

3. Hungary: A Short History C.A. Macartney D. Litt
1962 Aldine Publishing Company Chicago

4. History of Hungary Denis Sinor
1959 Frederick A Praeger New York

5. Hungary Istvàn Sziklai
1988 Forma-Art Budapest

6. The New Encyclopedia Britannica Volume 6
1998 Encyclopedia Britannica Inc Chicago






12. Zsuzsanna Ardo Culture Shock! Hungary Portland, Oregon: Graphics Arts Center Publishing Company, 2000

Recommended Readings
1. Original Text by Thomas Schreiber Translated into English by Lyton Hundson Nagel’s Hungary Travel Guide
Nagel’s Publishers 1958 New York

2. C.A. Macartney D. Litt Hungary: A Short History
Aldine Publishing Company 1962 Chicago

3. Denis Sinor History of Hungary New York
Frederick A Praeger 1959

4. Istvàn Sziklai Hungary Budapest
Forma-Art. 1988

5. Zsuzsanna Ardo Culture Shock! Hungary Portland, Oregon Graphics Arts Center Publishing Company, 2000