Csókolom!

Originally uploaded to Flickr by Gabó

Originally uploaded to Flickr by Gabó


This is a lovely photo from Flickr taken on old lady typical of those you see in the town market. They dress in traditional, peasant or rural dress with stiff petticoats and the ubiquitous scarf over the head. She is walking along the so-called hétkápolna or Seven Chapels on the southern outskirts of Vác. Each of the chapels depicts one of the seven pains of the Virgin Mary. Clearly devout, you can see her rosary in her hand as she makes her way towards the church. The walk is pleasant at any time of the year, either ablaze with colour in autumn or bleak and snow covered in the winter.

Returning Home by Tivadar Zemplényi

Returning Home by Tivadar Zemplényi

The photo also reminds me very much of one of my favourite Hungarian paintings, “Returning Home/Útban hazafelé“, by Tivadar Zemplényi. The trees and the light and the sadness of the old lady are captured wonderfully in this painting and the mood is also evident in the photo by Gabó. The sad thing is that women tend to outlive men in Hungary quite a bit and it is not uncommon to see such old ladies by themselves, alone. Although very independent and strong, I can’ t help but feel a certain amount of sorrow surrounds them. I doubt many have had what one might call an ‘easy’ life.

The title, csókolom, is a formal, respectful greeting you would give this lady if you meet her, as I am sure Gabó did when she saw her coming towards her. It means, “I kiss you[r hand]” from the more formal version,kezi csókolom.

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