Hungarian Culture


Primary Author
Chara Scroope,

In Hungary, the social structure tends to revolve around the family. Economic and social processes, as well as changes in Hungarians’ demographic behaviour in the post-communist period, have had a significant impact on family formation and structure. Families have become smaller and ties with extended families have become less extensive. Nowadays, while extended families living within the same dwelling are rare, they will live in close proximity to one another. Grandparents still play a very important role in the lives of the grandchildren, often helping to raise them.

The takes primacy and family members will often provide emotional and financial support to each other. Much of a Hungarian’s free time revolves around spending time with the family. Food plays a large role, with families passing down cooking traditions as well as sharing home-cooked meals together. Although many Hungarians are moving abroad to find employment opportunities, they continue to maintain strong ties with their . Some will also visit their family back in Hungary every few years.

Household Structure and Gender Roles

In more rural areas, the typical household structure is , with authority tending to come from the most senior male. In urban areas like Budapest, the household structure tends to be less hierarchical, with both the husband and wife being the main decision makers. Women are considered equal to men but are expected to honour their husbands. Some Hungarians may continue to live in multigenerational households, in part due to housing shortages and housing prices.

During the communist period, women often worked outside the household. This legacy continues today, with many women participating in the workforce. Women also continue to have a dual responsibility of taking care of the household as well as the children. Men are generally expected to work and earn money to provide for their families. There is an expectation from mothers that their daughters will maintain the family tradition. For example, mothers will share recipes and teach their daughters how to cook traditional Hungarian food.

Dating and Marriage

Traditionally, a young married couple would live near the parents of the groom. In today’s society, if a couple is unable to set up an independent household due to financial circumstances, they will move in with the set of parents who will welcome them and have the most room. Couples who live in a separate household still place a great value on having the help of a grandmother or grandfather in raising their children.

Since the end of communism, marriage has been on the decline. Much of the younger generation are forgoing marriage and having children out of wedlock. Nonetheless, marriage continues to be a key element of social cohesion in Hungarian society as well as a preferred source of security for the individual.

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