A festive splash-guard

Traditional splash guard representing Romano Prodi at the occasion of Hungary’s accession to the European Union, 2004, by Zsófi Pittmann
I’m not sure whether all our foreign readers know what a splash-guard, in Hungarian falvédő is. The custom of these embroidered scenes with sentimental mottoes, the late offsprings of Renaissance emblems was especially widespread between the two wars in Northern – German, Dutch and Eastern European – kitchens, where they protected the walls from the bean soup spurting out as well as the souls of the members of the household from the rudeness of the outside world.

The above example, a very late representative of this genre erects a monument to the memory of Hungary’s accession to the European Union in 2004. The two verses above and under the picture on which the housewife (either surprised, or just preparing the dinner for the welcome guest) looks at the entering Romano Prodi accompanied by the nimbus of twelve stars, are taken from the official Hungarian translation of the hymn of the EU, the “Ode of Joy”, and re-translated they sing like:

Drop in to us, dear guest
shine on us, you flood of light.

Actually, the Hungarian translation is not quite exact. The original verses in Schiller’s poem indicate just the contrary motion:

Wir betreten feuertrunken
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum.

We enter fire imbibed,
Heavenly, thy sanctuary.

Inflamados alleguemos
Diosa, a tu celeste altar.

Well, even if it does not substantially change the result of that festive moment sub specie aeternitatis, nevertheless, from a philological point of view there is a difference whether it is a nation – the Germans, the English or the Spanish – that approaches the sanctuary of Joy and Freedom and Union, or, on the contrary, it is these latter ideas, embodied by the President of their institutionalized emanation, the European Union, to attend the sanctuary of one Hungarian housewife’s kitchen pro toto. Perhaps is this mistranslation the source of some fundamental conceptual differences between our country and the EU?

1 comentario:

Julia dijo...

Creo que la imagen es muy elocuente. Ella no está muy contenta con el recién llegado. ¿Quién puede estarlo cuando se nos aparece alguien en medio de una cocina llena de cosas a medio hacer y para peor vestido muy elegante cuando una está con la ropa de trabajo? Podría hacer valer mi condición de ama de casa también -aunque nadie me creería tan hacendosa como la de la imagen- para asegurar lo incómoda que se presenta la situación.
Los gestos de las bocas son, por lo demás, clarísimos: ni asomo de sonrisa en la mujer.
El análisis filológico es interesantísimo y esclarecedor.
Brillante entrada.