If you’re planning on spending New Years Eve in Budapest then be prepared for a city alive with celebrations. Given that Hungarians enjoy a party at the best of times, it’s no surprise that Budapest really comes alive to see in the new year.
Here’s your guide on how to see out New Year’s Eve, known locally as Szilveszteri, in style.
Hungarian New Year’s Eve traditions
If you’re planning to stay home for the evening, the first thing you should do is cook yourself up a dinner of roast pork, pork jelly, stuffed cabbages and lentil soup. As well as being quite delicious, in Hungary, it’s believed to bring you good luck for the year ahead. Why? Well, pigs root themselves in the ground before pushing forward, and progress is a good thing. As for lentils, well, they symbolise wealth. What you must do, however, is avoid chicken which might scratch away your luck, or fish, which may swim with it.
Another fun superstition you might want to indulge in if you’re having a party at home is to grab a bullwhip with a cracker and make as much noise as possible – it’s supposed to scare off bad spirits from the house. And if you make it to New Year’s Day, then there are lots of other superstitions you should be aware of.
Finding a street party
The real action on NYE is out on the streets. All the Christmas markets are still open over the new year and the biggest one at Vörösmarty Square will have food and souvenir open late and musical entertainment on the main stage to get everyone in the mood.
The other main street parties can be found outside Nyugati train station and at Oktogon. There are where the locals tend to hang out, with local DJs leading proceedings. And, come midnight, there will be modest firework displays at both parties and no doubt a lot of cheering and hugs from random strangers. Be sure to remember your homemade palinka if you want to make some new friends.
Other places to party on NYE
If you don’t fancy the cold then there are plenty of indoor places to enjoy the evening. Every year there are a number of dinner and party cruises that run up the Danube. Whether you enjoy cheesy disco, piano jazz or downright debauchery, they’ve got you covered. Book early though as the cruises sell out every year.
On the mainland, check for NYE parties at the major luxury hotels, or you can try booking a table at your favourite restaurant, as chances are they’ll lay on some extra entertainment or a special menu for the night. And if music’s your thing, the Budapest Jazz Bar will host their popular annual Jazzszilveszter party, or you could check out one of many concerts going on at Pesti Vigado, St Anne’s Church or the Opera House.
Finally, most of the popular bars and nightclubs in Budapest host parties on New Year’s Eve. Here’s what’s going on this year:
Fogas Ház – PESTI KÖRKÉP 2016
Corvin Club – TESCO DISCO @ NYE 2016
Instant – Szilveszter Party
Hello Baby – Hello, 2016! All night show!
Morrison’s 2 – Szilveszter – BUÉK 2016
Akvarium – 100% Budapest NYE
Kuplung – KUPLUNG Szilveszter