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Upcoming events in Budapest and the countryside. Music and Gastronomic festivals. Programs and events for families with children.
The weather in February
By February, we are all waiting for spring. After the long gloomy winter, we are longing for sunshine and longer days, so it is clear why – in folk customs – this is the time for the burial of winter with the carnival in the center of attention. There are different folk customs across the county for chasing away the winter. These masquerades are guaranteed fun for everyone. In addition to the scary or funny masquerade processions, this period is characterized by dancing and music, and just like in ball times, food and drink consumption is a part of chasing winter away.
Events in Budapest in February 2020
- Date of the event: February 28, 2020
- Venue: 1116 Budapest, Gyékényes u. 45-47
Busós don’t only scare away winter in Mohács anymore. There is an event in Kelenföld as well, where Busós, trying to keep the tradition, are dressed in scary masquerades and march from the Albertfalva Community Center to the entrance of Albert Street Kindergarten.
Of course, ratchets and cowbells are the essential parts of the parade, and sometimes you can even hear cannons. Thus, puppies are better left at home this time. In addition to gastronomic specialties, the Mohács Sokac beans can also be tasted on site, honoring the Mohács Busós.
During the day, families can attend many children’s programs, while in the evening, there is a towering bonfire surrounded by Busós and bystanders shouting „vesszen a tél, jöjjön a tavasz” (winter must perish, spring shall come.)
Budapest Mangalica Festival
- Date of the event: February 7-9, 2020
- Venue: 1054 Budapest, Szabadság Square
There is a reason why thousands of people are interested in the Budapest Mangalica Festival every year. Primary producers from all around the country arrive in the name of the fair-trade movement, leaving out supply chains. Thus, mangalica products can be bought at a discount price.
No matter what you buy, quality is guaranteed as only products verified and approved by the Hungarian National Association of Mangalica Breeders are sold.
You can taste the most delicious foods from sausages and blood sausages to fried blood with onions and whole pigs roasted on a spit. In the popular live animal design, you can admire blonde, swallow-bellied and red mangalicas.
In the spirit of good mood, bands also perform at the gastro festival, and organizers arranged children’s activities as well.
- Date of the event: February 16-23, 2020
February 17-19-20-21: MOM Kultúrális Központ;
February 18-23: Zeneakadémia;
February 16: Hegyvidéki Kulturális Szalon;
February 22: Lóvasút Kulturális és Rendezvényközpont
The aim of the annually organized event is to preserve and pass on the oeuvre and musical and intellectual heritage of the legendary dulcimer artist, Georges Cziffra. Thus, the organizers host outstanding artists every year to provide the audience with the highest quality musical experience.
Great artists like Arcadi Volodos, Pierre Laurent Aimard, Tamás Vásáry or Mischa Maisky perform at the festival from the beginning. The diversity of concerts is provided by the genre-open art approach with both popular domestic and foreign musicians performing each year.
Alongside classical music concerts, jazz plays a major role, but in the spirit of other arts, there are also on-site art exhibitions available for guests.
Bear Festival – Budapest Zoo
- Date of the event: January 30-February 2, 2020
- Venue: 1146 Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 6-12
Bear Festival mainly targets families with young children. Discount tickets can be obtained if the youngest one brings a teddy bear or wears a bear costume to the zoo.
The great event consists of numerous programs to choose from, like bear waking, panda feeding, and playful bear curing. The repertoire also includes educational programs, puppet shows and children’s concerts.
Of course, all the other residents of the zoo can be visited besides bears. Still, the starring role, this time, belongs to these wonderful mammals, and the secret aim of the program is to make kids like bears.
With this in mind, it is also possible to adopt a bear, though we can’t take the animal home.
Events in February 2020 in the countryside
Mohács Busójárás (Busó-walking)
- Date of the event: February 20-25, 2020
- Venue: 7700 Mohács
Once you’ve seen the Mohács Busójárás, you definitely won’t forget it. The celebration of saying farewell to winter and greeting spring is part of the folk customs in many countries, however, in Hungary, its origins are intertwined with the expulsion of the Turks.
In the Middle Ages, villagers who fled to the swamps of Mohács Island got weary of Turkish oppression, so one night they put on terrifying masks and tried to scare away occupying enemies with various noise-making tools.
It is not known if it’s true or just a legend, but it is a fact that today’s Busós are not only funny but also scary. During the last weekend of the carnival, the streets of the town are crowded with people wearing carved masks, moccasins, boots, a reversed short fur coat and white linen trousers stuffed with straw.
They walk around the town with ratchets and cowbells so that the loud noise would chase winter back into its cave. But we might also run into giants and scary witches in Mohács as by the end of the carnival, we can experience the perfect medieval atmosphere here.
On the last day of the carnival, a boat is launched on the water with a winter-farewell coffin aboard amidst massive cannon shots. Then, the enormous bonfire is lit on the main square while people are dancing and shouting, and another coffin symbolizing winter is burnt.
Of course, the numerous programs would not be complete without the excellent Hungarian food and drinks provided during the event.
Mangalica Festival Debrecen
- Date of the event: February 21-23, 2020
- Venue: 4026Debrecen, Kossuth tér 1
The well-known Mangalica Festival has been organized in the center of Debrecen for over a decade. No one will go home hungry from here.
In addition to organ and rice sausages, sausages and roast meat, there is also a whole pig roast on site awaiting visitors who want to have a great feast.
Breeders from all over the country come to the fair to sell quality food. But it’s not all about gastronomy here; there are also live concerts and a fair comedy providing a good atmosphere.
Every year there is also a street of crafts where you can buy the most diverse artisan products.
Farsang Farka téltemetés (The carnival’s tail winter burial) – Tihany
- Date of the event: February 22, 2020
- Venue: 8237 Tihany, Kossuth Lajos u. 20
The Tihany burial of winter is considered to be one of the funniest carnival festivities in Hungary, as it is also the day of the new wine competition. Thus, it wasn’t so difficult to earn this honorable title.
Of course, in addition to wine tasting, fun is also guaranteed by loads of people in the streets of Tihany dressed in funny masquerades to chase winter away.
If we visit the Tihany art carnival, we will become part of a funny wedding when the prevailing groom, the “Carnival prince” marries “Miss Tihany”, warning the unmarried girls in town that it’s time to get married.
During the afternoon, the traditional winter-burning bonfire flares up and the men dressed in masquerade throw winter’s coffin on it to make sure spring is coming. What else could there be? Of course, dancing and the arrival of the mysterious “Doughnut Queen”.
Farsangi maskura – Csesztreg
- Date of the event: N/A
- Venue: 8973 Csesztreg
In Csesztreg, Zala County, there is a really nice way of celebrating the carnival. In the morning hours of Shrove Tuesday (or Mardi Gras), children dress up in so-called maskuras – home-made fancy dresses.
They walk around the houses of the village wearing these dresses and get small treats, like candy, sweets and small presents. In the afternoon, it is time for the adults to put on their maskuras – generally a piece of curtain of cloth. The main point is to have their faces covered.
The inhabitants of the visited houses need to figure out who hid behind the maskura questioning and teasing each other. Soon, wine and brandy glasses are also brought out. The whole day of fun is concluded by the winter-burning fire at 11 pm.
Snowdrop Festival – Alcsút Botanical Garden
- Date of the event: every day after February 18, 2020
- Venue: 8087 Alcsútdoboz, Kastélykert út 2.
The 2.5-hectare Alcsút Botanical Garden – set in beautiful surroundings – is home to the annual Snowdrop Festival. One of the country’s oldest ‘English park’ style garden has 7 species and 24 subspecies of snowdrops.
The first specimens were brought by Archduke Joseph in the late 1800s and the garden has been expanding ever since. Now, the thousands of blooming snowdrops are a breathtaking view.
The blooming is also worth seeing as only the Galanthus nivalis is native to Hungary, the other species such as Galanthus fosteri and Galanthus plicatus are only brought here. While the flowers are blowing, the Botanical Garden is open between 10 am and 4 pm every day and is easily accessible from Budapest.
Baroque Ball – Győr
- Date of the event: February 8, 2020
- Venue: 9022 Győr, Liszt Ferenc u. 20.
One of the most significant events of the ball season is the Baroque Ball in Győr with a tradition of several decades. Guests dressed up in a baroque and rococo outfit and contemporary music welcome the sophisticated fun-loving audience at this carnival.
The event is held in one of the most beautiful buildings of the city, the Zichy palace with contemporary frescoes, paintings, and sculptures where guests can truly feel as if they have flown a few hundred years back in time.
The perfect experience is complete by doormen, a master of ceremonies and dances and a fortune teller. Needless to say, the served dishes also resemble those of the 17th-18th century. Contemporary music is performed by Musica Historica, one of the most renowned Hungarian early music ensembles.
Pancake Festival – Kecskemét
- Date of the event: N/A
- Venue: 6000 Kecskemét, Main Square
If you like pancakes, Kecskemét is definitely the place to go. Everyone has seen 10-20 pancakes in a bunch, but the number of pancakes you can taste in Kecskemét reaches several thousands, so no one will be hungry.
Pancake making teams can also enter the festival and there are also pancake eating competitions. In addition to the many pancake specialties, you can also buy handicraft items from sellers on-site.
The all-day event offers several children’s programs for families such as music programs or a visit to fairyland for the youngest.
Tatabánya Malacságok (Pig Festival)
- Date of the event: N/A
- Venue: Tatabánya, Main Square
Traditionally, Árpád Square in the city center is home to the gastronomic event called Tatabánya Malacságok with live pig-slaughter and a sausage filling competition in the focus of attention.
In addition to the meat roasted on-site, you can also buy Hungarian Foccacia Pizza (kenyérlángos), chimney cake, fried scones, doughnut, pies and several other specialties.
Of course, there are also several drinks available preparing the mood for the live music concerts. The all-day event offers great fun for every visitor. In addition to food and drink tasting, you can also buy handmade items at the street stalls.
Ultrafutó Találkozó (Ultrarunning Meeting) – Velence
- Date of the event: February 23, 2020
- Venue: 2481 Velence
If you still feel the effect of Christmas bejgli (poppy seed/walnut roll) and duck, you can easily get rid of those extra kilos in Velence in February.
The Lakeshore town, that is easily accessible from Budapest as well, is home to the running competition around Lake Balaton, but you can also enter if you want to start the year healthy. The good news is that the event is held even in bad weather, so you only need a bit of determination if you want to complete the 28-kilometer run.
There are several distances you can choose from, but cycling is also an option – in this case, you may cycle around the lake five times as well, but this variation is only recommended for professionals. Anyway, as they say: everyone needs to move.
Winter Tihany Endurance Hike
- Date of the event: February 1, 2020
- Venue: 8237 Tihany
It might be a good idea to do some exercise after the relaxing holidays and great feasts. However, those attending the Winter Tihany Endurance Hike will move more than a little, actually a lot, but in a beautiful environment.
The 15-kilometer distance must be accomplished in five hours during which we explore the most spectacular sites of the peninsula. Gejzírmező, Újlaki templomrom (church ruins), Csúcs Hill, Apáti Hill, Külső Lake, Kis-erdő, Kálvária, Apátság (Abbey) – to name only a few of the more important stages of the hike.
And there is a fantastic view from the hills of Tihany – through which the route goes – to the lake in winter. So, this reason is worth moving our muscles a bit.
Chocolate Carnival in Pécs
- Date of the event: February 8-9, 2020
- Venue: 7626 Pécs, Felsővámház u. 52
The Chocolate Carnival organized in the Zsolnay Cultural Quarter is the place where we can taste so many wonders that we will be filled with happiness for a long time.
Chocolate manufacturers arrive from all over the country every year to show off their special products and chocolate making skills. We may taste sweets prepared on site.
In addition to the exciting professional presentations, there is a cooking show, a children’s workshop and we can also prepare our own chocolate. Apart from the gastronomic experience, there are also music programs, but chocolate is definitely the main attraction of the event.
Chocolate Festival – Szeged
- Date of the event: N/A
- Venue: Szeged, Main Square
The best handmade chocolate and sweets manufactures of the country are introduced at the Chocolate Festival in Szeged every year. It is a must for all fans of sweets.
In addition to the tasting, there will be lectures on the tricks of chocolate making, the history of chocolate and the chocolate specialties of different countries.
We can meet chocolate sculptors, and there is a chocolate volcano exploding liquid Belgian chocolate from a height of several meters. Children may enjoy the different programs and a playground made of sweets. Of course, there are also several concerts with great musicians to entertain the audience.
- Date of the event: N/A
- Venue: 2481 Velence
If you don’t want to travel to Venice, Italy to attend the carnival there, now you can do it by Lake Velence in Hungary. The all-day masquerade offers fun for both kids and adults with the Middle Ages coming to life. A medieval marketplace, a street fair, live early music, and an all-day dance hall await those wishing to party.
Illustrious people like King Matthias and Queen Beatrix will appear, but the procession will also include giant stilt walkers, dwarves, acrobats, fortune tellers and others recalling medieval times. The winter witch is traditionally burned after dark, and then the music and fun continue.
National Beekeeper Reunion and Fair – Székesfehérvár
- Date of the event: February 20, 2020
- Venue: 8000 Székesfehérvár, Berényi út 101
Although the event is essentially a professional one, the National Beekeeper Reunion and Fair can also be visited by the public. No one will regret the visit. On the one hand, we can find out everything about beekeeping and honey making.
On the other hand, we can taste and buy honey and honey specialties. The daytime event is followed by an evening beekeeper ball featuring the bee queen herself.
Homemade Brandy Competition – Békéscsaba
- Date of the event: February 22, 2020
- Venue: 5600 Békéscsaba, Széchenyi u. 4
The best homemade brandy of Békés County is searched for, every year. Anyone can enter their well-brewed distillation into the competition, but the event can be visited by everyone.
Pálinka (brandy) has always been a popular Hungarian drink with its popularity constantly increasing, as it is shown by the fact that more and more people enter the competition every year and the number of visitors is constantly increasing.
The race can be entered with several types of brandy, including noble fruit, grape pomace, mixed, aged or old. It is recommended not to arrive by car for the jurying or tasting of brandy.