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Emmaus Ritual in Bóly - Easter Monday Folk Tradition (2011)
The Easter Monday Emmaus Ritual is an over 100-year-old ethnic German tradition with a biblical theme still actively practiced in the small town of Bóly (Baranya County) in the southern part of Hungary.
On this day following the morning Holy Mass on Calvary Hill with the Stations of the Cross, families and friends gather at the wine cellars of the local family vineyards to eat a traditional feast and sample each other’s wines. Passersby are also invited in to enjoy the traditional Easter foods and partake in the merriment, singing and outdoor games for young and old.
The tradition provides an opportunity for people in the community to get to know each other, to strengthen existing ties and to establish new ones. The unspoken symbolism and essence of the underlying biblical Emmaus story is: I invite you to my table to show you who I am. The Emmaus ritual gradually developed in the ethnic German community settled here in the 1700’s (then constituting 90 percent of the total population). The ethnic Hungarians relocated here from southern Czechoslovakia following World War II have also adopted the tradition, as have the families arriving later from Germany.
With the transition to democracy in 1989, private ownership of the vineyards and small wine cellars finally became possible again - giving new impetus to the survival of the tradition.