Friday, 22 January 2016

Oxen at the drinking trough at the pasture land Hortobágy

Yes, well, that's what it says on the back of this Hungarian postcard:

Impressive-looking horns - and the contraption for getting water from the ground looks equally interesting.

Hortobágy is part of the Great Hungarian Plain and is, apparently, a steppe, with grasslands rich in cattle, water buffalo and horses.  All those beasts need tending to, and no better people to do that than some Hungarian cowboys, seen here in traditional garb:

It looks like The Uncle and his mates fancied doing a bit of cowboying - in the style of a Puszta Shepherd, as you do on holiday...

Now that is what I call protection from the elements.  It's called a Bunda, apparently - a full length cape made from the skins of long-woolled Hungarian sheep.  Now a bit of delving into the Bunda has revealed to me some interesting facts about both it and it's wearer, which, dear reader, I shall now share (Ed: Must you?).  The Bunda is reversible - the photographs show the same garment turned inside out and as you can see, the leather side is very ornamented with various stitchings and a black lamb's skin on the upper part of the back.  It is worn by the shepherds in all climates - in the hot summer, for example, he wears it so that the wool is on the outside.   When it gets cold, he turns it inside out so that the wool is on the inside.  Apparently the shepherds live, or lived, a semi-nomadic life, living out on the steppe for up to six months of the year when the pastures have plentiful grass for their cattle.

Wouldn't you just love a Bunda hanging in your wardrobe for those chilly winter days (or hot summer ones - not that we get many of those, mind you).  I mean, it would be one heck of a conversation opener...

1 comment:

  1. Keep them coming mate! I simply love these stories from Hungary back then, in the 30's. How different the world was back then, and how different they must have felt going there back in the days!?

    I think the idea of having a Bunda hanging around in my wardrobe would be much the same as the bright idea some people have when going to Mexico and buy a sombrero... but that's a quite different story, I think! :))
    It was, however, most likely a very good idea for the shepherds to have that Bunda back there and then!
    You are probably very right about the conversation opener, though :))