Like in many other countries, New Year’s Eve in Hungary is also ushered in with home parties and street parties on December 31st, which is known locally as Sylvester (Szilveszter) as it falls on the feast day of 4th century Pope St. Sylvester.

Traditionally, on the day of New Year’s Eve, Hungarians make the straw man, Jack Straw (who symbolize the evils of the past year), to walk it all over town during the day, and then burn or bury it later on at night so they could put the old year behind and start afresh. Some Hungarians also believed that animals were able to speak on New Year’s Eve, and onionskins scattered with salt could indicate a rainy month.

To celebrate, traditional Hungarian New Year dishes like frankfurter sausages with horseradish, lentil soup, fish, and roast pig are served with champagne and wines.