Old time photos at the ball in Békéscsaba.
It’s ball season here in Hungary!
Saturday evening, I attended a ball for the Lutheran churches in Szarvas with Michelle, the volunteer serving there. The Saturday evening before that, I attended a ball for the Lutheran churches in Békéscsaba.
These balls, which are more akin to fundraising galas in the States, are a common for schools and other organizations to host as a way to fundraise. They are a chance for people in the community to get dressed up and enjoy an evening of eating and dancing.
Why do so many balls happen at this time of year? It’s Farsang, or carnival season, which is celebrated each year during the time between epiphany and lent. It is a time to scare away the winter (with costumes and masks) and welcome the spring. It is celebrated with a variety of activities, which include doughnut eating, parties, masquerades and, yes, balls. (In my case, fundraising balls for the Lutheran churches in Békéscsaba and Szarvas. In Békéscsaba, the proceeds for the ball went toward renovations currently being made to the churches.)
One of the dance performances at the ball in Szarvas.
Both balls I attended began with a program which included speeches thanking everyone for coming and talking about why they were gathered (in Hungarian, so I can’t give you too many details as to the speeches’ contents), and dance performances. In Békéscsaba the dance performance was by a Hungarian folk dancing group. The group did several dances and then invited audience members to the dance floor to join them for a couple more dances. In Szarvas several groups of students ranging in age from elementary to high school performed different dances.
Waiting for dinner at the ball in Szarvas.
After the program, dinner was served. (Yay, food!)
Following dinner, the floor opens for dancing. Both balls had live bands providing the music for the evening. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really dance at the ball in Békéscsaba. Instead, I enjoyed my mentor, his wife and some of their friends to take pictures at an old-timey photo booth that was set up at the ball.
In Szarvas, I did quite a bit more dancing and was able to dance with several different people throughout the night. I have two left feet and am not especially good at the whole dancing thing, but it was a lot of fun anyway.
Me and Michelle at the ball in Szarvas.
After a while, the dancing paused in order to draw for raffle prizes. (I didn’t win anything, but have never had much luck in raffles, so I’m not particularly surprised.)
Then more dancing and talking and dancing and talking. I
didn’t get home from the ball in Békéscsaba until 3 in the morning. In Szarvas, we left at midnight. But the ball was still going strong.
It has been fun to experience these balls here. Who would have guessed that I would more occasions to wear fancy dresses during my YAGM year than I typically do in the States?