When I was a kid, every December I waited anxiously for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to come on TV. My family had a black and white Zenith. So, I had to take Santa’s word for it when Rudolph’s nose turned red. Since then, I figured I’ve sung “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” over 10,000 times. It’s a job requirement for teaching third graders.
When watching the TV special, my brothers and I each claimed a favorite character. My older brother’s was the Abominable Snowman. My younger brother picked Hermey, the misfit elf. Mine was Yukon Cornelius, the prospector who’d lick the end of his pickaxe while searching for silver and gold.
Silver and gold have special meanings here in Hungary around Christmastime. The Sunday before Christmas is called Arany Vasárnap (Gold Sunday) and Ezüst Vasárnap (Silver Sunday) is the week before that. There is Bronze Sunday, too. On these three Sundays leading up to Christmas, many of the city’s stores stay open late. Normally, most Hungarian shops are closed on Sunday.
I guess the closest thing we have to these three days in the States would be Black Friday. On Bronze, Silver, and Gold Sundays, however, Hungarians don’t camp out in parking lots for discounted computers. Hungarian stores don’t put up barrier tape. Hungarian clerks don’t fear for their lives. The evening news in Hungary doesn’t show clips of grown-ups fighting, shoving, screaming, elbowing, and biting each other for Xboxes. YouTube videos posted from Budapest don’t capture holiday shoppers trampling other customers for discounted smart phones. Nope, Silver and Gold Sundays aren’t like Black Friday yet over here. Thank goodness.