Jewish Festivals in Budapest

Jewish Festivals Budapest

Jewish Festivals in Budapest

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a city rich in culture and history. It is also home to a vibrant Jewish community that celebrates its traditions and festivals with great enthusiasm. In this article, we will explore some of the major Jewish festivals celebrated in Budapest and how they are observed in this beautiful European city.

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a time for reflection and renewal. In Budapest, the Jewish community comes together to observe this important holiday with prayer services at the city's synagogues, including the famous Dohány Street Synagogue, one of the largest in Europe.

The sound of the shofar, a ram's horn trumpet, fills the air as people gather to listen to its symbolic blasts. Families also come together for festive meals, often featuring apples dipped in honey to symbolize a sweet and fruitful year ahead.

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a solemn day of fasting and repentance. In Budapest, Jewish congregations observe this holy day by attending synagogue services, where they seek forgiveness for their sins and reflect on their actions over the past year.

One of the unique aspects of Yom Kippur in Budapest is the "Kol Nidre" prayer, which is recited at the beginning of the holiday eve service. The hauntingly beautiful melody of this prayer creates a solemn atmosphere that is deeply moving for those in attendance.


Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, is a joyous holiday that celebrates the harvest season. In Budapest, you can find sukkahs (temporary huts) constructed in the courtyards of synagogues and Jewish community centers. These sukkahs are decorated with fruits, vegetables, and greenery, creating a festive and welcoming atmosphere.

During Sukkot, families and friends gather in the sukkah to share meals and enjoy the company of loved ones. It's a time of gratitude for the bounties of the earth and a reminder of the temporary nature of life.


Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is a time for celebrating miracles and freedom. In Budapest, you can witness the lighting of the menorah in various public spaces, including the iconic Heroes' Square. Each night of Chanukah, another candle is lit, adding to the brightness of the holiday.

Children in Budapest eagerly anticipate Chanukah, as they receive gifts and play the dreidel game. The city's Jewish bakeries also prepare traditional treats like sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts), which are enjoyed by people of all backgrounds.


Purim, the festive holiday commemorating the salvation of the Jewish people from a plot to destroy them, is a time of joy and merriment. In Budapest, Purim is celebrated with colorful costumes, parades, and theatrical performances.

The story of Purim, as told in the Book of Esther, is read aloud in synagogues, and the congregation makes noise whenever the name of the villain, Haman, is mentioned, using noisemakers called "graggers." This adds a playful and interactive element to the holiday observance.


Passover, or Pesach, is a significant holiday that commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. In Budapest, families gather for the Passover Seder, a special meal that includes the retelling of the Exodus story, the eating of matzah (unleavened bread), and the drinking of wine.

The Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest hosts a grand Passover Seder that is open to the public, allowing both locals and tourists to experience the traditions of this holiday.


Budapest's Jewish community adds a rich tapestry of culture and tradition to the city's already diverse landscape. The celebration of Jewish festivals in Budapest is a testament to the resilience and vibrancy of the Jewish people, who have contributed significantly to the city's history and character.

Whether you are a member of the Jewish community or a visitor to Budapest, experiencing these festivals in this captivating city is a unique and enriching experience that showcases the beauty of Jewish heritage and the spirit of unity and celebration.

Traditions and Symbols of Budapest

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a city rich in history and culture. Its traditions and symbols reflect its deep-rooted heritage and the pride of its people. Let's explore some of the most significant traditions and symbols that define Budapest.

1. The Chain Bridge

The Chain Bridge, also known as Széchenyi Chain Bridge, is one of Budapest's most iconic symbols. Built in the 19th century, it connects the two sides of the city, Buda and Pest, across the Danube River. The bridge is not only a marvel of engineering but also a symbol of unity, as it played a crucial role in merging the two cities into one.

2. Thermal Baths

Budapest is often referred to as the "City of Spas" due to its abundance of thermal baths. These baths have been an integral part of Hungarian culture for centuries. The tradition of soaking in the healing waters dates back to Roman times and continues to be a favorite pastime for locals and tourists alike. The Gellért Baths and Széchenyi Baths are among the most famous in the city.

3. Hungarian Folk Dance

Hungarian folk dance is a vibrant and energetic art form that showcases the country's rich cultural heritage. Dancers in traditional costumes perform intricate steps to the rhythm of folk music. The colorful attire and lively performances are a source of pride and a reflection of the nation's identity.

4. St. Stephen's Basilica

St. Stephen's Basilica is a grand Catholic cathedral dedicated to Hungary's first king, St. Stephen. It is not only a place of worship but also a symbol of the country's strong Christian heritage. The basilica's stunning architecture and the panoramic views from its dome make it a must-visit attraction in Budapest.

5. Hungarian Cuisine

Budapest's culinary traditions are a testament to the rich flavors of Hungarian cuisine. Dishes like goulash, paprika chicken, and chimney cake are beloved by both locals and visitors. The use of paprika, a distinctive spice, is a hallmark of Hungarian cooking, and no visit to Budapest is complete without savoring these traditional flavors.

6. The Hungarian Parliament Building

The Hungarian Parliament Building is an architectural masterpiece that dominates the banks of the Danube River. Its neo-Gothic design and towering spires make it one of the most recognizable symbols of Budapest. The building is not only the seat of the Hungarian government but also a testament to the country's commitment to democracy.

7. Ruin Pubs

Budapest is known for its unique ruin pubs, which have become a symbol of the city's creative and vibrant spirit. These pubs are often located in abandoned buildings or courtyards, giving them a distinct and eclectic atmosphere. They are a hub for art, music, and socializing, reflecting Budapest's evolving cultural scene.

8. The Fisherman's Bastion

The Fisherman's Bastion is a fairy-tale-like structure located on the Buda side of the city. Its towers and turrets offer panoramic views of Budapest, making it a favorite spot for both locals and tourists. The bastion's design is reminiscent of a medieval fortress and pays homage to Hungary's historical traditions.

9. Hungarian Folk Art

Hungarian folk art is characterized by intricate patterns and vibrant colors. Traditional crafts such as embroidery, pottery, and woodworking have been passed down through generations. Visitors can explore these artistic traditions through the many folk art shops and markets in Budapest.

10. The Budapest Eye

The Budapest Eye, a giant Ferris wheel located on Erzsébet Square, offers breathtaking views of the city. While not as old as some of the other symbols mentioned, it has quickly become an iconic part of Budapest's skyline and a symbol of modernity and fun in the city.

In conclusion, Budapest's traditions and symbols encompass a wide range of historical, cultural, and architectural elements that reflect the city's unique character. Whether you're strolling across the Chain Bridge, indulging in thermal baths, or savoring traditional Hungarian cuisine, you'll find a city that takes pride in its heritage and welcomes visitors with open arms.

Budapest: Jewish Heritage Guided Tour with Synagogue Ticket

Discover the rich history and heritage of Hungarian Jewry on this captivating walking tour in Budapest. Explore key landmarks including the Dohany Street Synagogue, the Jewish Museum, the Holocaust Cemetery, and the poignant Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park.


Gain insights into the sights and history of Jewish Budapest, view a collection of photos, artworks, and religious artifacts at the Jewish Museum, and admire the stunning Moorish Revival architecture of the Dohany Street Synagogue. Pay a moving visit to the Holocaust Memorial and observe the exquisite Rumbach Street Synagogue from the outside.


Embark on a 90-minute guided walking tour, delving into the significant chapters of Hungarian Jewry's history and Elizabethtown. Explore the Pest Jewish Quarter and have an exterior view of the Rumbach Street Synagogue. The tour's highlight is an interior visit to the Dohány Street Synagogue, the largest in Europe and second largest in the world.

Engage in a guided tour at the Jewish Museum, immersing yourself in Hungarian Jewish heritage through a unique collection of art from Hungary and Eastern Europe, as well as the vibrant traditions of Judaism, its holidays, and daily life. A dedicated room pays tribute to the Hungarian Holocaust.

Visit the Martyrs’ Cemetery, the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park featuring the Tree of Life, and have an exterior view of the Heroes' Temple. After the tour, explore the Jewish Quarter Exhibition in the Goldmark Hall and the Family Research Center.


- Entrance fee to the Jewish Museum
- Entrance fee to the Dohány Street Synagogue
- Entrance fee to the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park
- Entrance fee to the Jewish Centre, including access to the Hungarian Jewish Archive and an audio-visual exhibition on the history of the Jewish Quarter in Budapest

Please note: This tour is not suitable for wheelchair users.

Meeting Point

Meet in front of the main entrance to the Great Synagogue in Dohany Street.

Important Information

What to bring:
- Passport or ID card
- Comfortable shoes

Not allowed:
- Pets
- Luggage or large bags

Price: From US$ 52.24 per person

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Celebrations and Parades in Budapest: A Festive Extravaganza

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a city known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. But one aspect that truly makes this city come alive is its celebrations and parades. From traditional festivals to contemporary events, Budapest knows how to throw a party. In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the most exciting celebrations and parades that grace the streets of Budapest.

The Budapest International Wine Festival

Wine enthusiasts, rejoice! The Budapest International Wine Festival is a delightful annual event that takes place at the iconic Buda Castle. This festival celebrates Hungary's long-standing winemaking traditions and offers visitors the chance to taste a wide array of wines from both local and international vineyards. It's not just about wine, though; you can also enjoy live music, traditional Hungarian cuisine, and captivating cultural performances.

Budapest Carnival

Every February, Budapest bursts into color and music with its Carnival celebrations. This lively event features extravagant parades, vibrant costumes, and an atmosphere of pure joy. The streets are filled with dancers, musicians, and performers, creating an unforgettable experience for locals and tourists alike. Don't forget to try the delicious carnival treats like kürtőskalács (chimney cake) and fánk (doughnuts).

The Budapest International Documentary Festival

For those who appreciate the art of storytelling through film, the Budapest International Documentary Festival is a must-attend event. This festival showcases thought-provoking documentaries from around the world, covering a wide range of topics. It's a great opportunity to engage with filmmakers, participate in discussions, and gain new insights into global issues.

Budapest Pride Parade

Celebrating diversity and promoting LGBTQ+ rights, the Budapest Pride Parade is a significant event in the city's calendar. Participants march through the streets of Budapest, waving rainbow flags and advocating for equality. The parade is not only a celebration but also a platform for raising awareness about LGBTQ+ issues in Hungary.

Budapest Christmas Markets

When winter arrives, Budapest transforms into a winter wonderland with its enchanting Christmas markets. Vörösmarty Square and St. Stephen's Basilica Square are the main locations for these markets. Visitors can browse through stalls selling handmade crafts, ornaments, and, of course, enjoy delicious mulled wine and traditional Hungarian dishes. The festive lights and decorations create a magical atmosphere that's perfect for getting into the holiday spirit.

National Day Celebrations

August 20th marks Hungary's National Day, and Budapest goes all out in celebration. The day typically begins with a ceremonial hoisting of the national flag and is followed by a series of events, including spectacular fireworks over the Danube River. It's a day when Hungarians come together to celebrate their heritage and culture, and the city comes alive with patriotic pride.

Budapest International Half Marathon

For sports enthusiasts and runners, the Budapest International Half Marathon is a thrilling event. Participants from around the world gather to race through the scenic streets of Budapest, taking in iconic landmarks like the Chain Bridge and Buda Castle. The atmosphere is electric, with cheering crowds and a sense of camaraderie among runners.

In Conclusion

Budapest's celebrations and parades offer a diverse range of experiences for both locals and visitors. Whether you're a fan of wine, culture, equality, or simply a good party, Budapest has something to offer year-round. These events not only showcase the city's vibrant spirit but also provide an opportunity to connect with the heart and soul of Hungary.

So, next time you find yourself in Budapest, be sure to check the local events calendar—you might just stumble upon a celebration or parade that will make your trip even more memorable.

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Explore the rich history and heritage of Hungarian Jewry with this captivating guided walking tour in Budapest. Immerse yourself in the compelling narratives as you visit the significant landmarks, including the renowned Dohany Street Synagogue, the Jewish Museum, the Holocaust Cemetery, and the poignant Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park.

52.24 $