Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Symbols in Hungarian Folk-art by Erika M Szabo

The tulip in Hungarian folk-art

By Erika M Szabo
When I was writing my epic fantasy series, I researched Hun history which occupies the bigger part of the story, but I got sidetracked by the fascinating Hungarian folk-art that is filled with symbols and secret messages. 

In this post, I’ll tell you about the most important symbol, the tulip. In Hungarian folk-art, the tulip is the symbol of love and represents the balance between feminine and masculine.
We admire the carved or richly embroidered tulip folk art but most of us don’t know the ancient secrets and messages that are hiding in the motifs.

Some historians speculate that the tulip is the representation of the female genitalia where new life begins. However, it goes further in folk-art because, without a male, life cannot be brought forth. In most of the carved, painted, or embroidered art, the male is represented as well as the female tulip accepts the male tulip with seeds inside her to start a new life.

Although the tulip depicts the woman from the age of a young girl to the adulthood of childbearing age, and to old age and death, the male tulip facing away from the female is present in most folk-art. The tulip bud represents young girls, the just about getting to open petals are the symbol of young women and the fully open petals represent grown women in their reproductive age. The withering petals depict the end of a beautiful, productive and rich life.
Courtesy of: http://morzsafarm.hu/
The tulip can be found everywhere: on embroidered doilies, bed covers and pillows, furniture, work equipment, pots and plates, household utensils, male and female clothes, and even on jewelry. Its meaning is the same everywhere, celebrating the feminine and masculine companionship, family, and love. 
Tulip motifs can be found in ancient Hungarian archeological finds as well, from the enamel of St. Crown's picture of St. Thomas, to various clothes, jewelry, everyday items, horse saddles and bows, and arrows, to the saber known as the sword of Attila. 
My mother always put the tulips on the kitchen table and nowhere else in the house. When I asked her why, she said, “The kitchen is the heart of the home where families relax and spend time together. We prepare and cook our daily meals, we eat together and share our daily experiences. Placing the tulips in the center of the home strengthens the love and harmony between family members.” 

You can read about it in my epic fantasy series where Ilona struggles to find her true love despite the obstacles placed in her path.

My next post is scheduled for April 24. I will tell you about Hungarian mythology, history, and legends that I learned from my parents and came across in my research.
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