Last week I celebrated the name day of one of my Hungarian friends. A name day is exactly what it sounds like – a day dedicated to celebrating individuals of a certain name. These days are typically celebrated at workplaces and schools as an individual’s name day is public knowledge whereas someone’s birthday isn’t. You can find name days posted on calendars, published in newspapers and on Hungarian websites which make it easy to keep track. Some names that are very common will have more than one day dedicated to it and the individual chooses which one to celebrate. A list of Hungarian name days can be found here.
To wish someone a happy name day, you say boldog névnapot! Its pronounced “bulldog nave-na-pot." Google translate does a good job of pronouncing things too so you can try that to hear what it should sound like.
The idea of celebrating a name is a rather new one for me considering there is nothing like that in Canada. But here it is common practice to celebrate both your name day and your birthday. My friend Erika’s name day was August 31 and so we went out for a Hungarian seafood dinner along the Danube.
The restaurant was located quite a ways outside the main part of the city. Once we got there it was so nice. It was really peaceful and quiet along the water. It was almost like we were on holiday.
Sitting by the waterside to enjoy our meal
We were here to try some fish and chips. I haven’t had much fish since I arrived. Its really expensive and any fish doesn’t seem to have too much meat. What do you expect from a landlocked country? I wasn’t sure what to expect.
This particular place was famous for its hake. Based on the Wikipedia article, I’m guessing it came from the Mediterranean or Black Sea. It looked pretty interesting. It was deep fried. I found the meat rather tough and dry. It lacked flavour.
We also ordered a fillet of flounder which was breaded before it was fried up. I liked this a lot more. The fish was soft and juicy. The only problem was that it was really really salty. I liked this fish more despite the salt and it looked more like the fish and chips I was accustomed to back at home.
We also ordered chips and onion rings to go with our meal. Most Hungarians eat with their hands, usually with bread. Me being the germaphobe that I am, opted for a knife and fork.
It was nice to get out of the city for a bit and enjoy some peace and quiet. This place is only open in the summer and when the weather is nice. Too bad it will be closing soon for the season. The whole area is lined with fish shops and other restaurants which would be quite nice to explore. There is always next year though!