City guide

Christmas Vörösmarty-style

Photo : Bódis Krisztián
Christmas Vörösmarty-style

“How fine that the weather’s gettin’ cold ‘cause people may start to realize that Christmas is upon us.” – said one of the merchants at Vörösmarty Square alluding to this year’s number of visitors jokingly. For so far it was only at weekends when the atmosphere was as warm as the weather cold. From Friday to Sunday there were quite a lot visitors at the 13th Christmas Fair at Vörösmarty Square but weekdays have yet to see crowds of people. Still, there is no reason to worry as we’ve got a whole month until the deadline to get all the presents.

The low number of visitors, of course, could mean good news to those who complained about last year’s difficulties at getting close enough to browse through the goods offered by the sellers. There’s no crowd yet and the scents of cinnamon and clove are also yet to spread but the merchants selling colorful mostly homemade products are already standing behind the counters waiting to serve those interested. Some of them came from the countryside but there are young college students from Budapest, too, who make their goods after the lessons. Also, we met a seller who offers the products made by her wife as more and more are created at home. We hope that soon the demand will grow together with the number of items…

Unique products can mainly be found among homemade perfumes, ornaments, ceramics, jewels and toys. We don’t even have to go out of our way to find them as they are everywhere. No surprise really because people are especially keen on buying homemade products with dainty, detailed motives and lovely colors at this time of year. There are many objects of use to be found here, too, and not in the well-known consumer product category at that, of course. Colorful handsewn leather bags, embroided children’s clothes, wool  children’s shoes, painted glass ornaments, dyed silks, organza accessories, soaps with poppy-seed, leather bracelets and copper elves await us, to mention but a few from the specialties sold here.
Presents cost about the same as they did last year but there are not that many stalls to choose them from. Some of the merchants think this is bad because the crowd was part of the experience the fair gave. Sure enough, the smaller number of stalls doesn’t mean that visitors won’t fill up the emptied spaces as Christmas Eve approaches. The overall picture didn’t change from that of last year, which might be explained by the unchanged organization. For example, the bigger dining stalls are at the same place they were last year.
And how much will we be charged for food and drinks in 2011? Mulled wine costs 180 HUF by the deciliter, while 3 dl costs 600 HUF. If you want to get the mug as a souvenir, 600 HUF will do the trick. Warming yourself up with tea will cost you 400 HUF. Those feeling like having something sweet might want to taste the strudel for another 400 HUF. Of course, there are more serious meals too, such as goulash, grilled sausages, knuckle of pork and other grilled meat. They can be bought for about the same as a year earlier. One kilo of sausage is 3800 HUF, goulash is 1100 HUF.
It still remains unanswered if the aforementioned “ingredients” are sufficient to make for a fine fair. What could be that extra that is yet to be seen in the square? It might be only the people feeling pressured by time that’s left until Christmas. Or an even colder weather to make us more hooked on mulled wine. The most probable, though, is that something should be found that’s unusual, unexpected and goes beyond last year’s standards. Something should be found that puts this year’s fair in the present.