Christmas fairs in Budapest – from classic to design
We Love Budapest
05/12/2013, 1:05 AM●7-minute article
Christmas is a holiday celebrating love and forgiveness, but the preparation period (also known as Advent) is mostly about the present-buying rush and endless panic. We can”t guarantee that the fairs collected here are the absolute sources of harmony on Advent weekends, but they are perfect for buying presents, drinking mulled wine and walking around. The scale ranges from the traditional, known-by-all Vörösmarty Square fair to more unique and stylish ones.
The fair is known and loved by everyone in the city, even though the lineup doesn’t have many new things in store. There are ceramics, jewelry, cosmetics, unique toys, honey, notebooks, and works of carpenters and furriers on display at the craft booths. In food, it’s still the Hungarian flavors that dominate – the newest sensation is goulash served in bread loaf. Thanks for its tourist attration factor, the prices here are a bit high for a Hungarian wallet: mulled wine costs 300 HUF per deciliter, but for 600 HUF, you get a mug as an extra; and there’s no decent food to buy under 1200 HUF. All in all: interesting (and probably cheap) for tourists, the usual for locals. After checking out the fair, it’s worth taking a ride on the beautifully decorated tram two. More information about the holiday trams here.
November 27. – December 23. Vendors: Sunday-Thursday 10:00-20:00, Friday-Saturday 10:00 – 21:00; catering: Sunday-Thursday 10:00 – 22:00, Friday-Saturday 10:00 – 23:00 December 24.: 10:00-14:00 From December 27th, the vendors are closed. Catering: 14:00 – 23:00 (December 27.), 10:00 – 23:00 (December 28.), 10:00 – 22:00 (December 29., 30., 31.)
The booths at Szent István Square offer anything we’d want from a traditional Christmas fair: ancient Hungarian fur caps, folk art trinkets, and jewelry made out of pressed flowers. The selection holds some edible goodies in store for its guests, too: Csabai sausage, marzipan, handmade chocolate, premium coffe, DiVino wines and Italian products from . Apart from stuffing our face with the above mentioned foods, we can also do some charity work: there’s saving vizsla dogs and helping poor families, the latter is realized through the Hungarian Interchurch Aid. We can also meet Santa Claus, ice skate for free, look at the paintings projected on the side of Bazilika (from 16:30 to 20:00), dance in the Göncöl Folk Dance Ensemble’s dance house, and on the December 13 weekend, take part in the interactive ice sculpture carving. The mulled wine is 300 HUF per deciliter, and the foods’ prices is similar to those at Vörösmarty Square.
The stage at Mikszáth Square is filled with story-tellers, musicians, singers, chanters, and carolers during the weeks of Advent. These performers bring life to the neighborhood and provide a great time for kids, which is especially true for the live Betlehem – petting zoo combo. On Sundays, there’ll be concerts in the Pesti Jézus Szíve Church and in the Párbeszéd Háza Chapel. As for the fair, mulled wine is available at various prices (450 / 500 / 700 forint per deciliter), but there’s also delicious lángos courtesy of Tésztafeszítő Kisiparos, Hungarian craft beer (also available in mulled version), roasted chestnuts, and candied fruits.
The fair isn’t necessarily the most interesting part of Advent at Városháza Park, but rather the cultural festival, a co-operation of Budapest’s local government and Szabad Tér Theatre. The event welcomes students from neigbouring countries who come to Budapest to present various performances in the Sátor Theatre. But they are not the only ones who get to show off their talent: kindergarten and grade school classes from all districts of Budapest also get the opportunity to take the stage. Naturally, some adults get some stage time in the Theatre, too, and so the show includes productions of theatres operated and funded by Budapest’s local government (Madács, Centrál, Radnóti, Operett, Kolibri and Újszínház), amateur traditionalist groups’ presentations, and performances of the students of art institutions. Other programmes include: jazz and world music concerts, wine tasting, dancing and caroling. The event’s symbolic crown is the Advent wreath, ten metres in diameter; and its tallest installation is the 16-metre tall Christmas tree.
Advent at Hegyvidék is a mixture of a craft market and various cultural events, sprinkled with some memorable gastro-experiences. During Thursdays and Tuesdays, children from local kindergartens and schools and musicians will take the stage from 16:30 to 18:00. The fair’s location is (traditionally) Kiss János Altábornagy Street and the small plaza adjacent to the town hall. The event’s stage can be found on the corner of Törpe Street and Kiss János Altábornagy Street.
Advent in Óbuda
One of the main Advent locations of is Fő Square, where a crafts fair, a cheap skating-rink, bread lángos, krampampuli (a special alcoholic beverage), a mulled wine contest on December the 8th, and a contest for homemade cakes a week later await those who are looking for a rich source of holiday spirit. For the Advent season, Óbudai Promenád (The Promenade of Óbuda) puts on its illuminated Christmas dress, and also boasts a giant Christmas tree, a petting zoo, a story-telling stage, and the usual winter beverages and Christmas fair cuisine. We can also take part in a charity program, hosted by the National Children’s Protective Services; they accept donations and toys until the 13th. More information here.
The passage at Király Street serves as the temporary home of farmers’ goods, unique design products and exchangeable clothes on Advent Saturdays from 11:00 to 18:00. This Saturday, Közös Piac (Common Market) and Gardrób Közösségi Ruhavásár (Gardrób Community Clothing Fair) is on the menu, and, starting at 2 PM, ReKarcsony. On the last Advent Saturday, Közös Piac, the Great Pine Fair 2.0, and the Bejgli Corner will inject life and holiday spirit into the resurrected passage. As for the Bejgli Corner, you can preorder a bejgli of your choice at firstname.lastname@example.org. The flavors are: walnut, poppy seed, chestnut, zserbó, chocolate, curd cheese-raisin, chestnut-walnut, cherry-poppy seed, apple-cinnamon, and plum. To put the icing on the Christmas cake, you can take part in a charity raffle (200 forint per ticket, you can buy an unlimited amount to increase your chance of winning, and, more importantly, to help out Menhely Alapítvány (Shelter Foundation).
Where? Central Passage, 1061 Budapest, Király Street 8-10. When? December 14., 21.; 11:00 – 18:00.
Housed by Blaha Lujza Square’s Művelődési Szint, Christmas Art Bazaar offers bags, jewelery, books, cosmetics, home decorating items, and all kinds of accessories straight from the designers. There are two side programs: a book presentation (Párkapcsolati szakácskönyv – avagy már megint elsóztam, most mit csináljak…?) and an exhibition opening (Tóth Viktória – Creative Women).
Where? Művelődési Szint, 1085 Budapest, Blaha Lujza Square 1. When? 2013. december 15.; 15:00 – 19:00.
The third Gift Terminal, as it is every year, focuses on Hungarian designers while also operating as a fair, an exhibition, an arts festival, and a charity event. At the fair, you can buy jewelry, clothes, furniture, furnishings, home equipment, and toys, while the exhibition showcases the creations of 120 artists. On the 13th of December (at 19:00), the Terminal gives home to an auction with 50 designer pieces, each starting at 3000 HUF. The collected money goes to Ökomenikus Segélyszervezet the (Hungarian Interchurch Aid).
Where? Design Terminal, 1051 Budapest, Erzsébet Square 13. When? December 7 – 23. Opening hours: Mon-Fri 12:00 – 23:00, Sat-Sun 10:00 – 21:00.
You can choose the best presents from 150 exhibitor’s clothes, jewelry, accessories, furnishings, home equipment, children’s clothes, toys, and story books at WAMP on Advent Sundays. Just to list a few examples, there are Camou’s sporty and elegant screen-printed clothes, Gajcsi Bianka’s jewelery made of unique materials, IGnoto’s plywood greeting cards, and Moringa’s chameleon mugs that change their patterns when exposed to heat. The gastro-section is dominated by winter yummies – jam, honey, chocolate, dried fruit, while the family programs’ guiding principle is creativity: adventurous adults can make ornaments out of coffee capsules, and children can tinker with making Santa Claus figures and sledges out of wood.
Where? Millenáris B hall, 1024 Budapest, Kis Rókus Street 16-20. When? December 15., 22., 10:00 – 18:00.