Jesus brings the Christmas presents in Hungary!

Many Hollywood movies show families sitting in front of a Christmas tree. Suddenly they hear someone knocking on the door, and there he is, Santa Claus. He has a bag full of presents and Christmas is here. This normally happens on December 24th but in some places on December 25th. In other places, Santa Claus comes on his sleigh during the night, making sure that all presents are in place by the time everybody wakes up on December 25th. What’s going on in Hungary? It is actually very different!

Hungary has some similarities with the Netherlands because their Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) arrives with presents on December 5/6. In Hungary, all kids wash their shoes on December 5th, knowing that Santa Claus will arrive during the night with sweets and other nice things during the night (if the shoes are nice and clean). In other words, Santa Claus comes on December 6th in Hungary. For many people in the Netherlands, the big Christmas present thing ends on December 6th, but that isn’t so in Hungary.

Jesus brings the presents on December 24.

There are different traditions, but many add to the magic the fact that the angels bring the Christmas tree to the different houses. Then you have the interesting thing. If you visit Budapest on December 24 and walk up and down the streets between 12.00 and 15.00, you will see lots of parents and/or grandparents out walking with kids. Why is that? They need to leave the house around this time in order for Jesus to come to the houses with all the presents.

As the kids return, the tree is decorated, and hopefully, there are lots of presents beneath it.

What does it mean that Jesus brings the presents?

First of all, it isn’t a tradition among kids to tell their parents and family what they want to get from the different persons in their surroundings. They only prepare a list that they tell their parents about, who later tell Jesus about all those wishes. Under the Christmas tree, you will seldom see stickers saying “To Tom”, and “From Mum&Dad.” The reason is simple, Jesus brought the presents, so it would be “wrong” to add such name stickers to the presents.

As the children get older, they understand what is really going on, but most Hungarians love this tradition, and they speak with glimpses in their eyes about the time when they believed Jesus was the one actually bringing the presents.

That was a little article about how the Hungarians celebrate Christmas and what you can expect if you come to Budapest around Christmas. You can read more about Christmas in Budapest and about the popular Christmas markets in Budapest here.

The biggest Jesus statue in Hungary – Blessing Jesus statue in Tarcal

Hungary is so much more than just Budapest, and since 2015, Hungary and the village of Tarcal has given a home to the biggest Jesus statue of the nation.

You probably don’t have any clue about where Tarcal is located (yet), but let us tell you quickly that the village is located in the Tokaj region, only a few kilometers from the village of Tokaj. And yes, this is in the heart of the wine region, meaning that you will pass by lots of vineyards as you drive around in this fantastic area.

The Jesus statue in Tarcal
The Jesus statue in Tarcal

The statue was built after a man named Petró Attila discovered some drawings of a Jesus statue in a chapel not far from the location of the current statue. He then provided the material for the statue, and the sculptor named Sandor Szabo (also from the area) was the one actually creating the statue. It has been made of five large stones and as you stand closer to the statue, you can easily see the five stones placed on one another.

The height of the statue is 8,5 meters and it has a total weight of approximately 50000kg.

The Jesus statue in Tarcal seen standing in front of it
The Jesus statue in Tarcal seen standing in front of it

While most Jesus statues is shown with the savior standing with open arms, this open is standing with one arms at his chest, while the other is kind of waving, or showing a blessing towards the people watching.

And yes, the name of the statue is Aldo Jezus Szobor, meaing the Blessing Jesus statue, which means, it is portraying Jesus blessing the people.

How to get to the statue?

As you drive through Tarcal, you will see big signs taking you all the way to the parking lot of the statue. From there you have a 500 meter walk (might feel like a bit more) to get to the actual statue. This is a very nicely built way with lots of benches along the way for those who want to rest before the finish the road. It might not be easy, but you can actually bring your stroller as well, considering that it is quite nice way all the way up to the statue. You might get warm, but it is completely possible!

Once at the top you can enjoy the full statue, and you can also enjoy a beautiful view towards Tarcal on one side, and towards a small hidden lake at the other side.

View towards Tarcal and the rest of Tokaj from the statue.
View towards Tarcal and the rest of Tokaj from the statue.
Beautiful view towards a "hidden" lake just beneath the statue.
Beautiful view towards a “hidden” lake just beneath the statue.

There are several benches up by the statue making this an even better place for an excursion, or for a stop on a pilgrimage trip, or maybe between a couple of wine tasting programs in Tokaj!

For more information about wine tasting programs in Budapest and elsewhere, check this site. Do not forget to share this with your friends on Facebook and if you need any help or have any questions, please write a comment and we will do our best to help you out!