2019 Grateful 12: Of Wolves and Sleeping Trees

Boldog Farkasnap, himself said to me this morning. I engaged that small part of my brain that tries to translate Hungarian and wondered if I’d done it right. Happy Wolf Day? Really? October 31 marks the beginning of the three-day Allhallowtide or Hallowmas season beginning with Hallow’een (the eve of All Saints), All Hallows (All Saints’ Day) and All Souls’ Day. In the USA, UK, Ireland, and places around the world, Halloween is a party night. Kids dress up and go trick or treating and adults get into fancy dress and hit the costume parties. I’ve never been a great fan of either.

In Hungary though, today is the day of the wolf (Farkas). I got quite excited there for a while but from what I understand it’s the name day for all those named Farkas, just like yesterday was the name day for Alfonz and tomorrow is for Marianna. Hungarians celebrate birthdays AND names days. It’s a lovely tradition. Like many names in Hungary, Farkas is both a first name and a surname. It’s one of the ten most common surnames in Hungary coming in at 83 000. If you’re curious, Nagy is the most common with ~240 000 – who knew, eh.

I was curious now about wolves in Hungary, and read with interest that according to the WWF, the wolf population here is growingDaily News Hungary reported in 2018 on a piece in Sokszínűvidék that mentioned new finds in Börzsöny, a mountain range in Northern Hungary. And just a few months ago, it ran a piece on the town of Füzér allocating 3500 ha of land to wolves and lynx who had moved into the locale.

In Hungary, wolves disappeared a little after World War I and reappeared again in the 1980s. They have been protected animals since 1993, and specially protected since 2001.
Great news and all that but I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more to this Wolf Day. So, I did some digging and found that today is the day when the trees go to sleep. It’s seen as a good day to plant trees (which explains why so many people last week at the market were buying trees) and also a good day to start chopping logs for the winter fires (which explains the chainsaws).

Trees sleeping? I couldn’t leave that one alone. Back in 2016, a team of researchers from Austria, Finland, and Hungary discovered that trees go to sleep at night, along with the rest of us.

The whole tree droops during night which can be seen as position change in leaves and branches. The changes are not too large, only up to 10 centimetres for trees of about 5 metres in height, but they were systematic and well within the accuracy of our instruments […] The leaves and branches were shown to droop gradually, with the lowest position reached a couple of hours before sunrise. In the morning, the trees returned to their original position within a few hours. The study does not say whether they were “woken up” by the sun or by their own internal rhythm.

Who knew that either?

One of the sides of the Internet that I’m grateful for is the ready availability of information. One of the sides I’m not so grateful for is the way it sucks the hours from my day. What started off as a quick search turned into a couple of hours of following breadcrumbs. Still. Happy Halloween to those who celebrate. And Boldog Névnapot to all those named Farkas.

2 replies
  1. Martin
    Martin says:

    Well, it maybe took you a couple of hours to research but it entertained me in the time it took to read it, and I’m sure many others. Bless you Mary 🙂


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