It’s on!

Christmas is on!

In the last about ten days we have been to the local school’s Christmas market, a Hungarian Santa Claus fest organized by the Danish-Hungarian Union in Aarhus, and the kindergarten’s own Christmas party.

Everything is about the upcoming holidays, and the smell of cookies being baked fills the air – how romantic 🙂 But it is true. We have been baking diligently.Danish treats like  pebbernødder and vanilla cookies, and Hungarian treats such as linzer and honey cakes. Luckily I have my children to help me, I think next year I might just give them the order: make 2 boxes of this, and 2 boxes of that, and let them do the work, while I will rest in my armchair, sipping my coffee 🙂 Seriously, they are getting pro 🙂

baking christmas treats

We also went yesterday to pick up our Christmas tree, at a small, local plantage. It was hard to find the best one, just because all of them were so nice and perfect 🙂 Once we picked the one, the owner came and cut it for us.

picking and cutting

We had to set it up right away in our living room, and decorate it. My kids did most of the work again. They are so excited about Christmas, they will do anything connected to it 🙂 I think it turned out lovely, what do you think? 🙂

tree before and after

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Happy All Saints… or Halloween!

We are a bicultural family, raising bilingual children. We celebrate Christmas and Easter combining traditions from two country, and we also celebrate things that are only familiar to one of the parents.

Halloween is not part of either the Danish or Hungarian tradition. In Hungary we celebrate All Saints on 1st November, and the Day of the Dead the following day. Both days are spiritual and kind of gloomy. They are not the time for fun, they are time for remembering the lost ones. It is a tradition to go to the cemetery these days, putting some flowers on the graves, lighting some candles. It is a sad thing, sitting there, and remembering the people we loved so much and cannot see anymore.

Halloween is not a genuine part of the Danish fests either, Halloween is, as we all know, of Anglo-Saxon origin. But nowadays it is widely spread all over the world, also in Denmark. Yes, people carve pumpkins, put them outside their doors, buy the cute little decorations they can find in any supermarkets, some may even hold parties, with costumes and everything. Well, not in Hungary, I can tell you that… We, Hungarians, are a strange nation. There is this collective attitude in the air, criticizing everything that is different, new. Some people say, that Halloween, and for instance Valentine’s Day are stupid American holidays (well, not), therefore we should despise them, and stick to our old, gloomy ways. They even say, that Valentine’s Day is a joke, because you cannot celebrate your love only one day per year, you have to celebrate it every day! Sounds good, but the problem is, that usually they don’t celebrate it any day, at all 🙂 Yes, probably there were times when I was thinking the same. But a lot of things happened to me, and suddenly I found myself far away from home, with a new family – speaking a different language, having different holidays, different traditions, habits, food, mood, etc., still, welcoming me with open arms and a lot of warmth. I learned a lot in the past few years, and I am very keen on creating a colourful, multicultural childhood for my children. I want them to welcome everything with an open heart and mind. I want them to remember and cherish the moments of holidays and traditions of our home. I don’t want them to reject the possibility for a little bit of fun, and different moments then the everydays. It is ok to be gloomy, but I want them to celebrate as well, any time they can:) And Halloween is a good time for that 🙂

We are going to light candles tomorrow for the loved and deeply missed ones.

But I also did my best, to grab the atmosphere of Halloween, and smuggle a little bit of festivity into this average Wednesday evening.

We started by picking a handsome pumpkin in the supermarket (I know, I know, shame on us, buying a pumpkin in a supermarket, instead of growing it in our own garden 🙂 ), and then I read a lot about pumpkin carving on different forums, because I have never done anything like this before, and gave it a try. It was surprisingly easy to carve the pumpkin, I might even do it again next year 🙂

From all the flesh that I took out of the pumpkin, I decided to cook some pumpkin soup. I loooove pumpkin soup 🙂 I don’t have a very accurate recipe for it. I just throw the pumpkin, one or two diced potatoes and some diced carrots in a pot, pour so much water (or leftover chicken broth) so that it covers the vegetables, add some salt, and cook them nice and soft. Once they are done, I give them a go with my food processor, add a bit of cream, and put the soup back on the gas for a few more minutes. It turns out so lovely and thick and comfoting, and perfect with some fresh, warm garlic bread… (great, now I’m hungry again)

Once the sun started to go down, we put our carved, little, heart-eyed pumpkin outside, and lit some lights. (Check out or welcome-frog! 🙂 )

And we also lit some candles inside. On the second picture, you can see the results of my kids decorating skills, they had this concept of grabbing everything and misplace it. I tried to save the picture, though 🙂

Those funny little pumpkin-lookalike berries grow on a bush in our garden. They are absolutely cute and pretty, so I decided to use them as decoration. Does anyone know what they are?