The name of the fourth-century pope, Sylvester I, who converted Roman Emperor Constantine the Great to Christianity, has become synonymous with New Year’s Eve in Hungary. The noun ’szilveszter’ occurs in adjectival form as szilveszteri buli, szilveszteri mulatság (New Year’s Eve party/merriment), szilveszteri vacsora (New Year’s Eve dinner).


The real linguistic delicacy, however, is the verbal form – szilveszterezni. During the period of Dec 27 to Dec 31, which Hungarians call ’két ünnep között’ (between the two holidays), the most common question you will be asked is: Hol fogsz szilveszterezni? meaning ”Where are you going to spend New Year’s Eve?” The answer is followed by another linguistic innovation, the shortened form of Boldog Új Évet Kívánok (Happy new year I wish), that is BÚÉK, to be pronounced ’boo -ache.’ That’s what you wish everyone you meet before and after January 1.

So, BÚÉK to all our Fungarian friends:

Miklós, Balázs, Barna, Emese, Edit, Lilla, Marion, Daniel