Hungary: Gay until Tomorrow

Like Germany's riotous Patching festival, Hungary's Fasching was traditionally a time to blow off steam before the onset of Lent's rigors. It was banned by Hungary's Red rulers. But now, with their tolerance, Farsang (pronounced for-shong), is making a comeback—not so much as a pre-Lenten spree as a chance to escape the austerity of everyday life under Communism. Explained one blonde merrymaker: "We celebrate from the morning after New Year's right through Lent, and on to Easter.''

Hungary's festival pales by comparison with the old days, when Magyar aristocrats would spit on a...

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