The music of Hungary consists mainly of traditional Hungarian folk music and music by prominent composers such as Franz Liszt, Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály. Hungarian traditional music tends to have a strong dactylic rhythm, just as the language is invariably stressed on the first syllable of each word.
Hungarian cuisine is also a prominent feature of Hungarian culture, with traditional dishes such as goulash (gulyás or gulyásleves) a main feature of the Hungarian diet. Dishes are often flavoured with paprika. Stews are often to be found with typical elements such as pork or beef, for example as used in pörkölt.
Hungary is famous for its excellent mathematics education which has trained numerous outstanding scientists. Famous Hungarian mathematicians include Paul Erdős, famed for publishing in over forty languages and whose Erdős numbers are still tracked; János (John) Bolyai, designer of non-Euclidean (or “absolute”) geometry in 1831; John von Neumann, a pioneer of digital computing; Eugene Wigner; and many others. Erdős, von Neumann, and Wigner, like other Hungarian Jewish scientists, fled rising anti-Semitism in Europe, and made their most famous contributions in the United States.
Hungarians are very proud of their inventions. These include the noiseless match (János Irínyi), the Rubik’s cube, the krypton electric bulb (Imre Bródy, 1891–1944), and the aforementioned non-Euclidian geometry. A number of other important inventions, including holography, the ballpoint pen (invented by the eponymous Laszlo Bíró), the theory of the hydrogen bomb, and the BASIC programming language, were invented by Hungarians who fled the country prior to World War II.
Hungarian literature has recently gained some renown outside the borders of Hungary (mostly through translations into German, French and English). Some modern Hungarian authors became increasingly popular in Germany and Italy especially Sándor Márai, Péter Esterházy, Péter Nádas and Imre Kertész. The latter is a contemporary Jewish writer who survived the Holocaust and won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2002.
The older classics of Hungarian literature and Hungarian poetry remained almost totally unknown outside Hungary. János Arany, a famous nineteenth century Hungarian poet is still much loved in Hungary (especially his collection of Ballads), among several other “true classics” like Sándor Petőfi, the poet of the Revolution of 1848, Endre Ady, Mihály Babits, Dezső Kosztolányi, Attila József and János Pilinszky. Other well-known Hungarian authors are Zsigmond Móricz, Gyula Illyés, Albert Wass, and Magda Szabó.
One of the most famous Hungarians is the footballer Ferenc Puskás (1927 – 2006). He scored 84 goals in 85 internationals for Hungary, and 511 goals in 533 matches in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues. Puskás played the 1954 World Cup final against West Germany. In 1958, after the Hungarian Revolution, he emigrated to Spain where he played in the legendary Real Madrid team that also included Alfredo Di Stéfano, and Francisco Gento.
Hungarians are also known for their prowess at water sports, mainly swimming, water polo and canoeing; this can be said to be surprising at first, due to Hungary being landlocked. On the other hand, the presence of two major rivers (the Duna and the Tisza) and a major lake (Balaton) give excellent opportunities to practice these sports.