Central Europe Activ

Cs?ksomlyó 2008Hundreds of thousands took part in the 442th Csíksomlyó pilgrimage in Transylvania on last weekend. The pentecostal event is the most popular religious festivity of Hungarians. In fact, it is the most popular event in the Hungarian speaking world despite the fact that Hungarians are one of the least religious peoples of the world.

Csíksomlyó (?umuleu Ciuc, Schomlenberg) is a Hungarian-majority village near Csíkszereda/Miercurea Ciuc in the Transylvanian region of Romania. Its Catholic inhabitants, the Szekler has been a distinct Hungarian-speaking group with a tradition of ethnic autonomy for centuries. The pilgrimage attracts almost as many participants each years as the Hungarian speaking churches all over the world on any given Sunday. This is very surprising in a society that is quite secular and detached from religion even by European standards.

The Csíksomlyó pilgrimage has a number of meanings: it is one of the last, living mediaeval popular religious festivities; it is a spiritual event of Catholic Hungarians, an ethnic and religious minority within Romania; it is held in a beautiful natural scene at late spring. The pilgrimage dates back before modern times. It is an event where pilgrims can identify with popular religion, the Hungarian community and Catholicism. The masses drown to Csíksomlyó each year demonstrate that religious tradition still remains a very powerful force in Europe.

The story of the Csíksomlyói búcsú reminds me to Kosovo. Although Transylvania has long lost its Hungarian majority, it has not been a Hungarian sovereign territory for a long time, the Hungarian-speaking minority is in a recession in Romania, this place attracts a record number of Hungarians from all over the world year by year since the border was opened between the two countries. Although Hungarians have had a feeling of loss over Transylvania, which is a part of modern Romania since 1920, in fact the Csíksomlyó pilgrimage was never lost to them. Countries, borders, come and go in history, and after a while they are not that important.

Links: A blog post from last year on Csíkszereda Musings, Százezrek a csíksomlyói búcsún.

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  1. I am glad to hear about the event bu I do have one observation. There is no evidence to support the idea that Transylvania once had a Hungarian majority. The earliest censuses show a Romanian majority in the region so I see not parallels with Kosovo.

  2. There’s nothing similar between Kosovo and Transylvania. Transylvania is Romanian ground, the only majority in Transylvania is the Romanian one. If you were in United States you wouldn’t have the guts to raise your voice just because the God forgotten village has 10 Hungarians and 4 Romanians as inhabitants. Please, stop with this kind of politics and articles, nobody believes it besides Americans and people who have nothing to do with Eastern Europe. Transylvania was Romanian ground, always been. Conquered, yes, but never had a majority of Hungarians, please, it’s too much, keep it real and stop the BS, with all do respect, it’s terribly annoying to hear such things since we live in a war zone, or what, are you going to take advantage of that. I have 22 millions words for you: NEVER!

  3. Dear No Paralel, and do you have an argument why Romania is the only country in the region that does not recognize Kosovo, unlike the US, its allies and the vast majority of EU countries?

  4. My friend, Romania has a couple of motives for not recognizing Kosovo’s independence.
    The first one is the sympathy for the Serbs and the second is the well known stupidity of the Romanian politicians.
    And yes, there is no resemblance between Kosovo and the Hungarian zone from the center of Romania.

  5. This is the second time I have come across this blog looking for ENglish language material to send someone, couldn’t use this entry either. (Mi van ezzel a bloggal, valami spéci keres? rendszert használsz, vagy mi?)

    Anyway re:

    “The masses drown to Csíksomlyó each year demonstrate that religious tradition still remains a very powerful force in Europe.”

    No it doesn’t, it demonstrates that this one of the only opportunities left for Hungarians to demonstrate that they are a community. Many people who go are not Catholic, or even religious. This year the Franciscan order has even complained that its religious meaning is being taken over by the use by Hungarians to show their solidarity with eachother. And there is no “still” because I doubt this pilgrimage was allowed under Ceausescu, and it wouldn’t even be that big now had not the Gyurcsány govt. pushed through the “no” vote for dual citizenship for those across borders.

    (Amúgy nehezen tudom elhinni, hogy magyar ember írta a fent idézett mondatot. Bocsi, de egyáltalán voltál már Erdélyben? És magyar iskolában tanultál? Mert ha igen, jó lett volna, ha vitatkoztál volna ezekkel a képtelen román állításokkal.)

    I agree with the others re: Kosovo, no chance for independence (the US wouldn’t back it like for Kosovo) and no ethnic reason for it now (earlier yes, the idea was brought up in 1920 and 1944 by the allied forces). Autonomy would be nice though.

    No Paralel: 1. Learn how to spell parallel. 2. “Transylvania was Romanian ground, always been.” That is how they brainwash Romanians. 3. “There was never a Hungarian majority in Transylvania.”

    If you don’t believe any Hungarian sources (typical) try some international ones. Yes there has been a Hungarian majority in Transylvania (well before 1920 though, but many times because Hungarians were forced out and Romanians moved in) but even after there were whole areas of ethnic Hungarian regions, and no, Romanian was never Romanian ground until 1920. It would be enough now though, if Hungarians were not persecuted there, and if they would be given the same rights as Romanians in Hungary.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘1055386704 which is not a hashcash value.

  6. @Tünde,

    I assume it is very difficult to delineate the identity of a person and divide the Catholic/Calvinist and Hungarian part. I strongly disagree with you.

    It is a pity that some of your comments are in Hungarian and some in English, it is difficult to reply to them. You are asking why I am not arguing with the Romanian readers, and if I educated in a Hungarian school. I tend to believe that Hungarians in Hungary, Hungarians in Romania and Romanians in Romania have three completely different historical narrative on the history of Transylvania, and I do not think that any of this has more truth in it. I think the history of Transylvania that changed hands in the recent century shows well how history is created.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘1055386704 which is not a hashcash value.

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