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Hungarian Seasons pattern

Seasons type

Based on the legend of William Tell

Although primarily associated with Hungary, the deck was also used in Austria, Bohemia and Bosnia. Featuring German suit symbols, the 'Hungarian' or 'Seasons' pattern depicts seasonal scenes on the four Aces. For example, the Ace of Acorns shown below (top row) depicts a man warming his hands, representing winter... and so on. The Kings are mounted on horseback and the over- and under-knaves are usually named and portray medieval Central European heroes. Cards are double-ended and packs contain 24, 32 or 36 cards: typically 7-8-9-10, Lower (Knave or Jack), Upper (Knight or Noble), King, Ace.

“...this is the most popular card type in Hungary. Maybe it's more popular than French style poker cards. With the Hungarian deck you can play a lot of card games. Every village has its own game and rules with this card deck. I know about 50 games with it. And everybody can play with these cards minimum 1 game. So this is the why I say this is the most popular card type in Hungary.”   [Attila Bagossy]

Hungarian 'Seasons' pattern Hungarian 'Seasons' pattern

Above: Hungarian 'Seasons' pattern, 32 cards. The cards with two pips are always called Aces, not 'Twos' or 'Deuces'. The hierarchy of the cards should run 7-8-9-10, Lower (Knave or Jack), Upper (Knight or Noble), King, Ace. The images representing the four seasons on the Aces also highlight them as the most special in the series. The suits are correctly identified as Nut (acorn), Pumpkin, Red (Hearts or Coeur, French for heart), and Green (or Grape, szölö in Hungarian). In too many references elsewhere, Pumpkins are incorrectly called Bells. The names shown on the face cards also correspond, as part of the William Tell legend, to the names of characters in Schiller's famous "Wilhelm Tell" epic. The main heroes and villains are all represented, with their names Hungarianized, so that William Tell is shown as Tell Vilmos, for example. Schiller's classic style of writing reminds of Shakespeare's plays. Thanks to Kate Jones for these extra notes.

Above: Magyar Kártya Luxus No.123 Hungarian playing cards, c.1970.

See also:

Hungarian ‘Seasons‘ pattern by Piatnik, c.1991
Hungarian War Aid pack
Balázs Pál Nagy's playing cards
Hofämterspiel, c.1460
Tungsram Playing Cards, c.1930
Matyó-Bridge No.50, c.1932
Austrian Tarock Cards
Adametz Rural Scenes Tarock
Hungarian 'Seasons' playing cards by G. Berger, Buenos Aires c.1940
Hungarian Playing Cards by IGOR L. M. DOMICELJ & Naipes VIGOR S.R.L. (Argentina)
Andrew Dougherty 'Seasons' deck, c.1920s

Attila Bagossy writes: "I used some name conventions in the name of the files:
abbreviation | Hungarian name | English name (in my opininon)"

- Colors -
m - Makk - Nut
t - Tök - Pumpkin
p -Piros - Red
z - Zöld - Green

- Card Types -
also - Alsó - Lower
asz - Ász - Ace
felso - Fels? - Upper
het - Hét - Seven
kilenc - Kilenc - Nine
kiraly - Király - King
nyolc - Nyolc - Eight
tiz - Tíz - Ten

Last Updated September 24, 2015 at 06:29am

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