The largest group of Hungarians arrived in South Australia after the Second World War.
They came as so called “Displaced Persons” between 1948 and 1955, due to the Russian occupation of their country.
The 1956 Hungarian Revolt against Russian occupation triggered another flow of migrants from Hungary. Over fourteen thousand arrived in Australia between 1956 and 1957. People defecting from Hungary between 1951 and 1981 added another 30,000 people to the Australian-Hungarian population.
The Hungarians are a small community and are very proud of their culture, traditions, and language. Their community also consists of Hungarians born in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania. Hungarian-Australians have been particularly active in the fields of business, academia and politics.
The Hungarian born population is a significant part of Australia’s rapidly growing ageing ethnic population. Through social patterns established in their earlier migration waves, a substantial proportion of the older members of the Hungarian community have limited experience in English language usage.
At the 2001 Census the major religions amongst Hungarian-born were Catholicism (12,900 persons), Judaism (1,730 persons), Uniting Church (formerly Presbyterian) and the Hungarian Reformed Church (1,460 persons).
The Hungarian Catholic Church is located in Torrens Street, College Park. Also, services for the Hungarian Reformed Church are held at the Uniting Church in Unley, on the corner of Unley Road and Edmund Avenue.
LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION
The main language is Hungarian, which belongs to the Finno-Ugrec family.
A weekly national newspaper, Hungarian Life (Magyar Elet) is available at the Hungarian Club.
HOLIDAYS AND CELEBRATIONS
The day before Easter, families with children paint Easter-eggs of all styles and colour. Children find small gifts beside their beds early Sunday morning. A traditional breakfast is partaken of Easter-eggs, ham, braided cake bread, horse-radish and hot chocolate. Many families go to church this morning to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The traditional family Christmas celebration, dinner and exchange of gifts take place on the eve of December 24th. Christmas Day is a family affair.
1848 Revolution Day – 15 March
This day celebrates the Hungarian uprising against the Austrian Habsburg Dynasty. Hungarian South Australians hold an anniversary concert to commemorate the event.
Saint Stephens Day – 20 August
This is both a secular and religious celebration because Saint Stephen founded The Kingdom of Hungary and established Catholicism as the state religion. Special religious services and cultural performances mark the day.
1956 Uprising Remembrance Day – 23 October
October 23 is the beginning of the Hungarian revolt against the Russian occupation. In South Australia, this date is celebrated with cultural performances and communal meals.
Santa Claus (St. Nicholas’) Day/Mikulas- 6 December
During the night, Saint Nicholas leaves gifts in the children’s shoes which are left on windowsills.
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FOOD AND DIET
Some typical Hungarian dishes include:
Pörkölt, a veal, chicken or beef stew that is sometimes called goulash
Gulyás, a thickish beef soup
Halászlé, a spicy fish soup cooked with paprika
Jokai bableves, bean soup
Hideg gyumolcsleves, cold fruit soup made from sour cherry
Palacsinta, stuffed crepes
ATTITUDES TO CARE
Traditionally, if an older person owns a home and has a child or children, one of the children will care for the elderly person and in so doing will get a bigger share of the inheritance. Hungarian people who have lived in Australia for a number of years may generally not have an expectation of family involvement in care. Many of them may not have extended family. Nursing homes are acceptable for most Hungarians.
DEATH AND BURIAL RITES
A Viigil is held by the bed, and some like to have the last rites. Families usually request viewing before burial, but some do not accept cremation.