Five things you probably didn't know about Hungary

Customs, the Rubik's cube, and Olympic medals

As we don’t hear much about this beautiful country, you might not know much about its history, or the fact you shouldn't clink your glasses together when you say "cheers". Here are five snippets of information to boost your Hungary knowledge.

Hungary's history

Hungary is one of the oldest European countries. It was founded in the year 896, even before France and Germany became separate entities, and before the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were unified. Hungary has seven borders in total (Austria, Romania, Ukraine, Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia) and its capital is Budapest. The official language is Hungarian, an Indo-European language called Magyar by its speakers. Although we don’t hear much about it, Hungary is one of the top 30 most visited countries in the world.

The Rubik’s cube

Surely you know this game, the cube that you need to twist and turn until each side is a single colour? The one you never understood and never had enough patience to finish? Well, it was invented in 1974 by Ernő Rubik, an architecture professor in Hungary. This young man was only trying to find a new and exciting way to explain spatial relationships and stability to his students. He had no idea that his “magic cube” (or “Buvos Kocka”) would become the world’s best selling toy! For those who are still a little obsessed with this puzzle, here’s a step by step guide  on how to solve it.

The star of the Olympic Games

Hungary has an amazing record when it comes to the Olympic Games. Indeed, the country has won gold medals at every Summer Olympics except Antwerp in 1920 and Los Angeles in 1984, where Hungarians didn’t compete. This puts the total at 167 gold medals, 146 silver and 169 bronze, 482 since 1896!

Clinking glasses is a big no-no

You should know that it’s quite uncommon to clink when having a drink with friends, and you should avoid it at any cost if it’s beer! The reason for this goes back to the 1848 revolution, when Austrians celebrated the Hungarians’ defeat by clinking their beers around. This behaviour is therefore not appreciated. To make a toast, just raise your glass while looking people in the eye, and say “Egészségedre” - yes, it’s a mouthful, just ask your neighbour for the right pronounciation.

Hungarians give their names backwards

Don’t be surprised if you don’t get the name of the person you just met - just try to reverse the order. Hungarians give (and write) their family name first, and their first name after. And sometimes, there might be a middle name in there too! This Eastern order is often used in Asia, a couple of European countries and parts of Africa. But it is quite formal, and if people know you are foreign, or if you meet them in an informal context, they will probably just give you their first name anyway. © 2003-2021 Just Landed