January 18 is Piroska’s nameday in the Hungarian calendar. It is one of the most beautiful sounding names in Hungarian. Its association only with Little Red Riding Hood is misleading tough. While the Grimm’s tale heroine got her name in translation because of her red hood, the name Piroska actually originates from the Latin Prisca meaning venerable, ancient and the English equivalent would be Priscilla.
The most famous bearer of the name in Hungarian history was Saint Piroska, the daughter of our great 12th century king Saint Ladislaus. She was married to Byzantine Emperor John II Commenus, and she became a saint of the Greek Orthodox Church under the name Saint Irene. Her Mosaic portrait can be seen on the Comnenos mosaic in the Hagia Sophia, Constantinople (now Istanbul).
Additionally, a nice suprise to unyielding learners of Hungarian is this wonderful animation in the series called KerekMese:
Piroska és a Farkas (Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf)
Fungarian’s teachers highly recommend to use internationally known tales for language learning purposes. Even if you don’t understand everything, you can guess a lot. Just think of this dialogue:
-Nagymama, miért olyan nagy a szemed?
-Hogy jobban lássalak!
-Nagymama, miért olyan nagy az orrod?
-Hogy jobban érezzem a kalács illatát!
-Nagymama, miért olyan nagy a füled?
-Hogy jobban halljalak!