Romania Ethnology and Folklore – Hungarians

Legends, superstitions, customs, parties. – In the legends dealing with the creation of the world, the antagonism between God and Satan is manifested. Some seem to reflect the Iranian legends, which penetrated into Eastern Europe through the Bogomil sect of the Balkans, or through the Armenian colonies of southern Russia. According to these legends, God created the earth with the help of Satan, who brought it from the bottom of the waters; then the human body was made of clay by Satan himself, while God gave him the soul. Following the collaboration between the divinity and the devil, all animated beings were created, the first reserving the benefits (the horse, the sheep, the dove, the nightingale, the swallow, the bee), Satan the evil and ugly (the wolf, the owl, the bat, the wasp).

According to collegesanduniversitiesinusa, the devil also occupies an important place in the chapter of superstitions. Its power lasts from midnight until the crowing of the cock. He becomes a wolf, a goat, a black cat and a black dog. Indemonia men, causing disease; but it can be chased away with the “disenchanting” (descântec), mostly recited by the old women, in which the Madonna with the Saints is invoked. The witches keep company with the devil, who have sold their souls and, with the help of the devil, manage to cause illness by practicing black magic. Beliefs around vampires (strigoi) and werewolves (svârcolaci ; from the Slavic valkolak, corresponding to the Greek λυκάνϑρωπος) are widespread.

Of the customs, some reveal an evident Roman background, such as, for example, that according to which the woman who is spinning must not go to meet the men with the distaff, since this damages the sown: a belief already noted by Pliny (Nat. Hist., XXVIII, 5) and also reported in the Abruzzi.

Certain feasts and special uses have survived from Roman paganism, assuming Christian forms: thus, Fr. eg, the colinde (see below), almsgiving consisting of offerings of food for the dead, on Holy Saturday; and also in the feasts of San Trifone il Pazzo, protector of wolves and insects (February 2), of San Giovanni Battista (Sânziene) and of San Giorgio there are many pagan customs. Some other Romanian festivals were contaminated by Slavic mythology, such as eg. Rusaliile (Rosalia). Another feast, such as, for example, the Passover of the bonarî (Pa ş tele Blajinilor), is related to an episode of Alexander the Great’s novel: his journey to the Indian gymnosophists.

It derives from paganism to affix green branches of fir to the house where there is a dead person, to leave some coins in the mortuary, or rather in the hand of the deceased. There is also the custom of giving something to the old mourners, who sing their sad complaints.

Weddings are usually celebrated with great pomp.

The groom sends his friends, on horseback, to the house of her father, where these have their say now ţ in full of humor (claiming to have been sent by their general to take away from the house of her father on beautiful flower, they want to transplant in that of the groom). At the great banquet that follows each guest gives his gift to the young couple, while at the end another ora ţ ie di ert ă ciune (apologetic) is said.

At the Mozi of Transylvania, who live their life with difficulty as carpenters or miners, the girls’ market still takes place in the Găina, which is repeated every year on the day of Saints Peter and Paul; and on that day the youth to be married gathers in festive and richly adorned garments from the Arieş valley by the Bihor committee and from the Mureş valley. The girls carry with them in their wedding costumes there are also traces of the purchase and the kidnapping of the bride.

Other customs are also kept alive, such as, for example, several agricultural rites: in winter there are masked parties (a disguised dancer puts on a carved deer head and dances in front of the peasant houses, who reward him), or magical conjurations are made to invoke rain or soil fertility (when drought persists, a girl covered with leaves and sprinkled with water), and so on.

Dances. – Among the popular dances the Hora, a round dance, which is also accompanied by singing, holds the first place, and then there are the Sârba, the Bătuta and the Brâulet, while the old ritual dances such as the Cǎluşeri and the Turca are gradually falling into oblivion. In the mountains, shepherds like to play the flute, but in some villages the bagpipes and bagpipes are still in use.

Hungarians. – Of the Hungarians living in Romania the majority are Sicilians (Székler), and the rest is divided between the two countries of Kalotaszeg in western Transylvania and Torockó, south-east of that, as well as about 40,000 Csángó in Moldavia and variously scattered elements in the individual cities. Among all these groups the Sicilians have a special position, and somewhat different from that of the other Hungarians. They live in a compact mass in the villages of Czik, Haromszek and György on the western slopes of the Eastern Carpathians. Their provenance is debated. They want to derive from the Huns, who would have settled in this locality after the sacking of the country: but it is presumable that they, as a border army, were transplanted in the century. XI from western Hungary (the territory around the Balaton) in eastern Transylvania and here they have established themselves with certain privileges. Their characteristics are the tall or medium stature, the blond hair, the round head, marks of the Eastern Baltic race. They speak an old Hungarian dialect, and are mostly farmers: sheep farming was learned by the Romanians. In wooded regions woodworking predominates; many of them earn their bread by also being carters, wandering pot-makers and servants.

Girls go to town as housekeepers, but then they always return to their country. The appearance of the little concentrated and rather scattered agglomerations shows us the rectangular houses, made of wood, with a hipped roof, and more rarely of stone, covered with straw or shingles, and equipped with a wooden porch on the side of the road and from that of the court. The narrowest part of the house usually faces the street. The doors of the Sicilians are renowned : well carved, painted to recall the models of western Germany, equipped with a dovecote, they close the access to the courtyard. Separated from the house there are the barn with attached stables, a small wooden oven (the summer kitchen), stables for pigs and horses and the shed.

The dwelling house is divided into three parts. In the middle the landing, on the right towards the street the “big house” (the living room or party room), on the left the “small house”. The usual home furniture consists of an extendable table, long, narrow and painted panels in a Baroque or Renaissance style transformed by popular taste, painted armchairs, corner shelves for painted vases, bowls, etc. The men wear long trousers that come down tightly, “stockings” made of a kind of coarse felt with black and red laces, and also a waistcoat and jacket, in the winter a short sheepskin shirt or sheepskin coat, crude shoes or kid booties. Women love baggy, red and colorful dresses, white blouses, also a black or red jacket covered with black or red chevrons, and a white apron. Single girls wear their hair in long braids adorned with red ribbons. The artistic sense and the inveritive wealth of the Sicilians are great. The chain stitch embroidery prefers the two colors blue and red, the decoration is partly geometric, partly repeating very stylized plant motifs. They also know how to weave beautiful carpets, and their pottery finds great sales in distant countries, especially in the annual markets of Transylvania, in which the Sicilians always participate as coppersmiths. The dances, games and costumes bear witness to an undoubtedly very ancient Hungarian imprint, which has been easily preserved, given their geographically closed position. Family life is strictly patriarchally regulated.

Romania Ethnology