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James A. Kapalo :  The Moldavian Csángós: ‘National Minority’ or ‘Local Ethnie’? (M.A. Dissertation, 1996)

Contents: Introduction; The Moldavian Csángós; Chapter 1. Ethnicity and a Csángó Ethnie; The Ethnic Consciousness of the Csángós; Ethnic Boundaries and the role of social stigma ; Chapter 2. National Consciousness and the ‘National Minority’; The National Consciousness of the Moldavian Csángós. Romania and the Term ‘National Minority'. The Ethnic Mobilisation of the Hungarian Speaking Csángós; Conclusion                                                             


The Moldavian Csángó community is one of the smallest and least well known of the many minority groups in Romania. They are considered by most commentators to form part of the Hungarian national minority or to be an ethnic sub-group of the majority Romanian population.

By far the greater part of the existing literature relating to the Moldavian Csángós is concerned with their ethnic origin and tries to demonstrate, with the use of historical, linguistic and ethnographic evidence their Hungarian or Romanian ethnic roots[1]. The Moldavian Csángós, however, defy classification as either Romanian or Hungarian, and yet they display undeniable cultural affinities with both groups.

Rather than seek to enter into this debate which is on dominated by nationalist polemic, I aim to examine, not who the Csángós are ethnically, but whether or not they form a distinct group, on anthropological and political terms, in contemporary Romanian society.

What makes a fresh examination of the Moldavian Csángó communities of particular interest at this time is the increasing speed of assimilation of the group linguistically and culturally into the Romanian majority, as well as the gradual political mobilisation of the Hungarian speaking section of the Csángó community following the overthrow of communism in Romania in the winter of 1989-90.

It is because of the Moldavian Csángós sometimes ambiguous, ever shifting sense of ethnic and national identity, that they have difficulty in the pursuance of their rights as a minority group. The Romanian constitution states,


‘Article 6- The Right to Identity.

(1)   The State recognises and guarantees the right of persons belonging to national minorities, to the preservation, development and expression of their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity.’[2]

If we are to avoid the arguments around ethnic origin and yet demonstrate that the Moldavian Csángós form a distinct unit in Romanian society, it is important that a definition be sought in order to legitimise their status as a group distinct from both Hungarians and Romanians. In so doing, I shall try to place equal emphasis on the anthropological and political aspects of the Csángó’s group identity and ethnic relations with Hungarians and Romanians.

The key terms to be employed are ‘local ethnie’ and ‘national minority’. ‘Local ethnie’ will be examined in relation to Fredrik Barth’s theory on the boundaries of ethnic groups[3], to determine whether the boundary mechanisms Barth speaks of are present in the case of the Moldavian Csángó community. The term ‘national minority’ will be examined in relation to the development of a distinctly ‘national consciousness’ amongst  minorities in Eastern Europe to determine whether the Moldavian Csángós can be described by such a term.

Through this study of Moldavian Csángó group identity and status I intend to add to the debate on the nature of the relationship between ethnic identity and the emergence of national consciousness in Eastern Europe and also draw attention to the very varied nature of minority group identities in the region.

The Moldavian Csángós

In the 1992 census of the Romanian population, 2,165 people declared themselves ‘Csángós’[4]. However, this in no way reflects the number of people who refer to themselves or who are referred to as Csángós in present day Romania. For one reason or another the vast majority of Moldavian Csángós preferred to declare themselves to be Romanian in the national census.


The history of the term Csángó stretches back at least two hundred and fifty years and most probably came into common usage at the start of the 19th century. Historically amongst academics there was no debate as to whom the term referred. In the 1955 edition of the Dictionary of the Romanian Literary Language, the following definition appears, ‘A Csángó is a person who is a member of the Hungarian community settled in the area around Bacău’[5].

Yet only thirteen years later the following description was to be found in the Small Encyclopaedia, also published by the Romanian Academy of Sciences, ‘The Csángós are a people of Romanian origin, speaking two languages’[6].

For the Hungarian part, in the Dictionary of the Hungarian Language, published in 1966, they are described in the following way, ‘Partly Romanianised Hungarian population, living in Bukovina and Moldavia, with animal husbandry their main occupation’[7]. They are most commonly described, however, simply as ‘Hungarian speaking natives of Moldavia’.

In Hungarian ethnography the term Csángó refers to only one part of the Hungarian speaking community Moldavia, those living in the immediate vicinity of the towns of Bacău (Southern Csángós) and Roman (Northern Csángós), in the villages of (amongst others) Traian (Újfalu)[8], Săbăoani (Szabófalva), Pildeşti (Kelgyest), Iugani (Jugán), Ploscuţeni (Ploszkucény) Valea Mare (Bogdánfalva), Bucila (Bukila), Gioseni (Gyószény), Valea Mare (Nagypatak), Galbeni (Trunk), Secatura (Szekatura) and Nicolae Balcescu (Ferdinánd or Újfalu).

The  remainder of the Hungarian speaking community in Moldavia being described as Szekler (Székely) or Szekler Csángó (Székelyes Csángó)[9]. Some of the most noteworthy Sekler Csángó villages in Moldavia, from an ethnographic and linguistic point of view are Cleja (Klézse), Lespezi (Lészped), Pustiana (Pusztina), Luizi-Călugăra (Lujzikalagor), Grozeşti (Górzafalva), Fundu-Răcăciuni (Külsőrekecsin), Găiceana-Unguri (Gajcsána-Magyarfalu), Vladnic (Lyábnik), Coman (Gajdár), Sascut-Sat (Szászkút).

Besides this Moldavian Csángó population there are two other groups that are commonly referred to as Csángó by Hungarian speakers, the Gyimes Csángós and the Hétfalu Csángós. The Gyimes Csángós live astride the historic Moldavian-Transylvanian border, in the Trotuş valley, and share some cultural traits with the Moldavian population. The Hétfalu Csángós live in Transylvania on the edge of the Seklerland near the city of Braşov. These two groups should not be confused with the Moldavian Csángós, and fall outside the scope of this study.

Hungarian historians and ethnographers tend to define the composition of the Moldavian Csángó population in terms of language use and dialect, thus the three main groups are refered to as Northern Csángó (speaking the northern Csángó dialect), Southern Csángó (speaking the southern Csángó dialect) and the Sekler Csángó (speaking various Sekler dialects).

The term Csángó as used in Moldavia, however, refers to a wider section of the population, generally indicating a member of the Roman Catholic church from roughly the area comprising the counties of Bacău, Neamţi, Vaslui and Iaşi, irrespective of whether they speak Csángó-Hungarian, Romanian or a dialect which is a mixture of the two.

The practice of defining ‘Csángó’ in terms of Hungarian language use is unsatisfactory, primarily for the reason that the Hungarian speaking or Csángó dialect speaking community are assimilating linguistically at a rapid rate. An example of how this practice of defining a Csángó in terms of language use effects the mapping of the Moldavian Csángó population can be demonstrated by the situation in the Northern C Csángó villages near the town of Roman. In 1994, only one elderly woman still spoke Hungarian in the village of Iugani (Jugán), Maria Gerka (a few other elderly people could be found in the village who knew a few Hungarian words of expressions). In the neighbouring villages of Gherăeşti (Bírófalva) and Teţcani (Kiczkófalva) Hungarian is not spoken at all. Despite the fact that all three villages are Catholic, share the same customs, folk costume, family names etc only Iugani is no considered by Hungarian ethnographers to be a Csángó village. The local population, however, consider there to be no difference ethnically between the population of these villages.

Because of this process of language loss (vis. the Csángó Hungarian dialect) and the existence of several distinct linguistic communities within the population that Moldavians themselves refer to as Csángó, it is important that we look for other criteria that may more satisfactorily define the make up of the Moldavian Csángós for the purposes of this study.

If we turn to the criteria of religious observance, we have what appears to be a much more clearly defined line between members of the Romanian Orthodox church and the Roman Catholic Church. While it is clear that members of the Orthodox church in Moldavia speak Romanian and are generally accepted to ethnically Romanian in origin, it is not so simple to draw such conclusions about members of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic community in Moldavia can be divided both linguistically and ethnically. There are Poles and Ukrainians in the North of Moldavia that have retained their language and ethnic identity who clearly do not fall within the boundaries of the categorisation of ‘Csángó’. The remainder of the Catholic community speaks either Csángó Hungarian or Romanian as a first language. All Csango Hungarian speakers also speak Romanian with increasing numbers of Csángó Hungarian speakers who consider Romanian to be their first language or their preferred language of communication. The Romanian speaking and Csángó Hungarian speaking section of the Catholic Community live mainly on the counties of Bacău, Neamţi, Vaslui and Iaşi and correspond roughly to the same section of the Moldavian population that are referred to by the   majority Romanians as ‘Ceangău’[10] or ‘Ungor’[11] (as opposed to Maghiar – Magyar). Therefore when I shall use the  term   Moldavian Csángós, it is to this group I shall be referring. By doing so I hope to avoid the arguments that arise surrounding the ethnic origin of the various Moldavian Catholic settlements.

The criteria I have used for the use of the term Moldavian Csángó, therefore, are threefold, Roman Catholic religious observance, the use of Csángó -Hungarian or Romanian as a first language and geographic location of the settlements in central Moldavia.

Following these criteria we can arrive at a more accurate figure for the Csángó population if we consult the records of the Roman Catholic Church. Parish records for the counties of Bacău, Neamţi, Vaslui and Iaşi counties place the total numbers of Roman Catholics somewhere in the region of 250,000[12].

1.Ethnicity and a ‘Csángó Ethnie’

‘One may have the same language as some people, the same religion as some of those as well as of some others, and the same economic strategy as an altogether different category of people. In other words, cultural boundaries are not clear cut, nor do they necessarily correspond with ethnic boundaries’.[13]

This point is a most pertinent one when examining the nature of ethnicity in relation to the possible existence of a ‘Csángó Ethnie’ as distinct from the ethnic categorisations of Romanian or Hungarian.

It is universally recognised that the Moldavian Csángó community shares many cultural traits with the majority Romanian population. It is also recognised that the same community some of the most fundamental cultural traits, thought to be most active in ethnic identity formation, with ethnic Hungarians, such as language and religion. If  we followed, therefore. The premise that ethnic groups correspond directly to culture groups, or that they equal the sum of the cultural traits of a given group, then we would be faced with a dilemma in the case of the Moldavian Csángós, are they Hungarians or are they Romanians?

It is precisely this argument that has preoccupied historians and ethnographers on both side of the national divide ever since minority populations started to become an issue in the newly emergent nation states of Eastern Europe.

This preoccupation with cultural traits and ethnic origins has been abandoned in the field of anthropology in recent years to be replaced by a stronger emphasis on inter-group relations and ethnic boundaries. In his introduction to Ethnic Groups and Boundaries, The Social Organisation of Culture Difference, Fredrik Barth[14] outlines his approach to the study of ethnic groups,

‘First we give primary emphasis to the fact that ethnic groups are categories of ascription and identification by the actors themselves, and thus have the characteristic of organising interaction between people. We attempt to relate other characteristics of ethnic groups to this primary feature. Second,….(a)pply a generative viewpoint to the analysis: rather than working through a topology of forms of ethnic groups and relations, we attempt to explore the different processes that seem to be involved in generating and maintaining ethnic groups. Third, to observe  these processes we shift the focus of investigation from internal constitution and history of separate groups to ethnic boundaries and boundary maintenance.’[15]

I intend to look at the Csángó community in the light of two of these points, the first, that of ascription and identification, and the third, that of boundaries and boundary maintenance, as these are the most relevant when trying to determine the status of groups in ‘ethnic’ terms. First, however, it is important to look at another area of the study of ethnic groups, that of ‘ethnohistory’.

Barth points out that it is a misconception to view, ‘…the culture-bearing aspect of ethnic groups as their primary characteristic’[16]. This has implications on any study of ethnic groups when you try to ascribe an ‘ethnic-history’ to them.

‘With an emphasis placed on cultural traits, differences between groups become differences in trait inventories; the attention is drawn to the analysis of cultures, not of ethnic organisation.’[17]

The origin of a given groups ‘cultural trait inventory’ is thus accredited with great significance and,

‘….gives scope for an ethno-history which chronicles cultural accretion and change, and seeks to explain why certain items were borrowed.’[18]

If we were to follow this pattern as a means of discovering the history of an ethnic group, we must start with the premise that our original ethnic unit were ‘pure’ and in a state of cultural isolation. From an arbitrary historical starting point, despite acculturation, any original ethnic unit may play no further part in the ethnic genesis of new units, as this original ethnic unit will remain forever the ‘same unit’ even though it has borrowed cultural traits.

In studying the Csángós or indeed any other smaller Eastern European minority group such as Ruthenians, Vlachs or Gagauz this emphasis on ‘cultural trait inventories’ in their ethno-history merely obscures any understanding of the ethnic group as it exists today and the reality of inter-group relations and ethnic boundaries.

The first point that Barth drew attention in his introduction to Ethnic Groups and Boundaries, is the importance of ascription and identification. Thomas Eriksen explains the importance thus,

‘This approach to ethnicity advocates a focus on that which is ‘Socially Effective’ in inter-ethnic relations, and Barth regards the ethnic group chiefly in terms of social organisation. It follows that ethnic groups must be defined from within, from the perspective of their members. (…) Barth defines ethnicity as categorical ascriptions which classify individuals in terms of their ‘basic, most general identity’. Since ethnic membership must be acknowledged by the agents themselves in order to be socially effective, this is the crucial criterion for Barth.’[19]

If members of an ethnic group don’t acknowledge their ethnic membership and don’t communicate it, the ethnic aspect ceases to be relevant in social interaction.  


Ethnic Conciousness of the Csángós.

The ‘social effectiveness’ of the group relies on the in-group members themselves acknowledging their ethnic membership, in order that it be communicated at times that might benefit ‘in-group’ members.

Vaclav Hubinger, in describing what ‘ethnic membership’ might signify in an Eastern European context states the following, the ‘…international, conscious act of one’s recognition of ‘his’ belongingness to ‘his’ ethnic group (which is not the same as nation)’. If we are to recognise the Csángós as being a distinct ethnic group, this Csángó ethnic identity being their ‘basic, most general identity’, we must examine their recognition and communication of their ethnic membership.

This, as we shall see, does not necessarily require from a member of an ethnic group a statement such as, ‘I am an X and I am proud of being so’, to communicate or acknowledge this membership, as other factors can intervene in inter-group relations, such as ethnic stigma, to hinder such overt expressions of ones ethnic consciousness.

Considering how much research has been carried our relating to their history and ethnic origin, very little has research has been done into the ethnic identity of the Moldavian Csángós, and that which exists needs to be examined with caution as it is generally inspired by nationalist politics.[20]

Péter Halász, a Hungarian ethnographer, in his article ‘On the Hungarian Conciousness of the Moldavian Csángós’, states the following,

‘….the so called Northern Csángós, who live in the district of the town of Roman, or more precisely to the north of there, the majority of whom have lost their one time mother tongue (Hungarian) but have preserved their Catholic faith, even today don’t regard themselves as Romanian but as Catholics. This form of the Moldavian Csángós Hungarian consciousness is obviously extreme and one deformed by circumstances, when they know only to which ethnic group they don’t belong, but yet not to which they do and with whom they share community.’[21] 

Péter Halász here reduces the concept of membership of an ethnic community, in this case the Hungarian one, to the ‘memory’ or ‘knowledge’ of a shared ethnic origin and language. The Northern Csángós have somehow ‘forgotten’ their membership of the Hungarian community, perhaps through the loss of their language, but ‘remember’ the fact that they are not members of the Romanian community, this being what they choose to communicate. This argument of course does not stand up to scrutiny and a more realistic interpretation of the same situation might be that firstly, the Northern Csángós are denied membership of the Romanian community, i.e. are recognised as being ethnically different. Secondly, not feeling themselves to be connected to the wider Hungarian community, despite the memory of a once shared language, and not being situated in a region where there is regular contact with the Hungarian community, they don’t feel it important or relevant to communicate or deny membership of the Hungarian community. An important point that needs to be recognised here is that ethnic difference is communicated and ethnic cues read most clearly between groups with which there is regular social contact. The ethnic boundaries that have been negotiated between the Northern Csángós and their Romanian neighbours are the ones that are most relevant to the Csángócommunity. It does not follow, by stating this, that the Csángós are any ‘further’ ethnically from Romanians than they may be from Hungarians.

Dimitur Martinaş, the Romanian auther of The Origin of the Csangos of Moldavia[22], in the section entitled, ‘The Ethnic Consciousness of the Csángós’, mentions the following,

‘Speaking about the villages situated in the region of Tîrgu Frumos, to the north of the town of Roman (Butea, Buruieneşti, Olteni, Sagna, Fărcăseni, Rotunda, Scheia, Slobozia, Buhunca, Boghica etc.) the geographer Victor Tufescu ascertained that ‘…virtually nowhere in these villages could you hear Hungarian speech, and the Csángós from there really consider it an insult if you call them Hungarians, and not Romanians.’[23]

Here we have an account from an Romanian commentator referring to the same group of Csángós, the Northern Csángós, as Péter Halász, arguing his case for the Romanian consciousness of the Moldavian Csángós, based on an assertion of what the Csángós are not. Thus, the way both commentators have chosen to interpret the Csángós statements as to their ethnic membership, presents us with a simple either/or option of ethnic membership, if you say you are not ‘A’, then it follows that you must be  ‘B’.

Another source of information on the ethnic consciousness of the Moldavian Csángós is the study begun by the Hungarian ethnographic department of the University of Cluj-Napoca, some of the results of which were published in an incomplete form under the title, ‘The Relationship between Language and Identity Amongst the Csángós of Moldavia’.[24]

The section of the study published was on a questionnaire completed by 40 residents of the Hungarian speaking Csángó villages of Săbăoani (a Northern Csángó village), and Pustiana, Lespezi and Luizi-Călugăra (Sekler Csángó villages). The question relating to the ethnic identity produced the following results, 18 declared themselves to be Hungarian, 7 Romanian, 8 Csángó and 3 mixed[25], there were also 4 who declared themselves to be simply Catholic. This last category indicates the tendency amongst some Csángós for religion to be the overriding determiner of identity, allowing them to distinguish themselves from Romanians, who are Orthodox, without declaring an ethnic affiliation.

The study, which is on much too small a scale to produce any conclusive results and, which having been carried out by Hungarian researchers in Hungarian speaking villages, has an obvious bias, does however demonstrate that language use does not necessarily define ethnic membership in the case of the Moldavian Csángós. All informants were Hungarian speakers and yet less than half of them declared themselves to be ethnically Hungarian.

This is also born out by the results of my own small-scale study carried out in 1993, amongst the Moldavian Csángó teenagers studying in Miercurea Cuic, Transylvania[26]. The 79 children questioned were all studying at a Hungarian school and came from villages where Hungarian is spoken, although some of the children spoke little or no Hungarian up until their arrival at the school. Of the 79 only 18 declared hemselves to be Hungarian, whereas 41 declared themselves to be Csángó, 13 Catholic, 2 Romanian and 3 to be Ungor (as opposed to Maghiar/Magyar).

These results go some way to demonstrating the reluctance with which the Moldavian Csángós declare themselves to be either ethnically Hungarian or Romanian and that apparently straight forward statements regarding ones ethnic identity are open to different interpretations and that a declaration of ethnic membership, although in many cases related to language use, is not dictated by it.

Although Hungarian and Romanian researchers would in all probability not object to the use of the term ‘ethnic group’ in relation to the Moldavian Csángós, what is important is whether this ‘Csángó’ identity is their, ‘basic, most general identity’. This cannot of course be decided purely on the basis of a simple statement or declaration of ethnic membership, but also requires an examination of inter-group relations and the ethnic boundaries.


Ethnic Boundaries and the Role of Social Stigma

Turning back to the notion outlined by Barth, that the ethnic group is defined through it’s relationship to others, rather than by the sum of it’s cultural traits, it is important to outline, as far as is possible, those social boundaries that come into play in interethnic relations between Csángós and Romanians and between Csángós and Hungarians. This does, however, present certain problems when looking at groups which have ill defined and transitory identities. Harold Eidheim observed, in his study of coastal Lapp communities in Norway, that,


‘…if ethnic groups should not happen to coincide with contrasting economic systems or with firm and enduring political groups, there will always be the problem of ‘transitional zones’, i.e. where such criteria give ill-defined ethnic borders.’[27]


As well as this phenomenon of the ‘transitional zone’ there is also a ‘…variability in the organisational importance of ethnicity’[28], from the loose and socially insignificant form to a much higher tighter ‘corporate’ form. In the Csángó community it is relatively loose and would fit the description of an ‘ethnic network’ as outlined in Don Handelmans topology.[29]

Despite the fact that in Csángó ethnic relations ‘transitional zones’ are present, that the Csángós display a relatively low level of ethnic organisational incorporation and given that the objective cultural traits of ‘Csángóness’ vary from village to village, with shifting significance place on such factors as language use, religion, persistence of traditional costume etc. in the Csángó region people have no problem ascribing ethnic membership nor in maintaining the integrity of ethnic boundaries.

The transitional zones that Eidhein speaks of are present across the whole spectrum of Csángó-Romanian interethnic relations, especially when we examine interaction in the political, institutional and local administrative spheres. Here we witness an under communication of ethnic membership on the part of the Csángós, coupled with an unwillingness to initiate action in the public sphere, i.e. in local councils, schools. This indicates a highly asymmetrical balance of power in interethnic relations between Csángós and Romanians and is symptomatic of what Eidhein terms ‘social stigma’ in ethnic relations.

The open communication of ethnic membership in such circumstances is generally confined to the private sphere, in the family, with immediate neighbours or within closed social situations inside the community. This of course does not mean that in the public sphere   Csángó ethnic group membership goes unrecognised by out-group members, it is merely that in-group members choose not to openly communicate it.

This asymmetrical balance of power is also present in interethnic relations with Hungarians, but for quite different reasons. Whereas the Romanians, who hold the dominant position politically and economically in Moldavian society,regard the Csángós as rather backward and uncivilised[30], the Hungarian community in Transylvania, with the whom the Csángós only have limited contact, stigmatises the Csángós for other reasons. Hungarians in general, but more particularly Sekler Hungarians, who have the most contact with Moldavian Csángós, tend to consider them to be ‘ethnically’ tainted by their living amongst Romanians. They view their language as an ugly corruption of Hungarian and even in some cases treat them as ‘ethnic traitors’, who have given up their true identity and ‘sold out’ their nation.

They consider them as little more preferable in social interaction than Romanians, despite their linguistic and religious affinities. As a result of this Csángós who find themselves amongst Hungarians also generally tend to under communicate their ethnic identity.

In the case of contacts with the majority ethnic group, the Csángós, endeavor to assert their ‘Romanianess’, as do the Lapps their ‘Norweginaness’. Under the disability of a stigmatised ethnic identity, members of the coastal Lappish population in question seek to qualify themselves as full participants in Norwegian society. In order to obtain this membership they have to develop techniques, ‘to avoid or tolerate sactions from the local Norwegian population.’[31]

In the case of the Csángós the avoidance of sanctions generally entails, not using the Csángó-Hungarian dialect in the public sphere, not showing support for or even condemning the politics of the Hungarian national minority in Transylvania and declaring and demonstrating ones credentials as a patriotic Romanian.

When Moldavian Csángós come into contact with Transylvanian Hungarians a different set of rules governs inter-ethnic relations. The ethnic stigma attached to them in Moldavia for being perceived as being Hungarians and for being perceived as being backward, is switched to a new set attached to them for being the opposite, for being too like Romanians.

To avoid sanctions in this new set of circumstances Csángós often employ the same strategy,  that is to over communicate their ‘Romanianess’. This is done in the hope of shedding the stigma of being a minority and, in  interactions with Transylvanian Hungarians, of swinging the power balance in their favour. This strategy is nominally more successful in that in a Hungarian ethnic environment they have more hope of passing as ‘genuine’ Romanian[32].  Clues to their ethnic identity are less easily read by out-group members than at home in Moldavia.

Vilmos Tánczos, in his article ‘I want to be a Romanian’, identified this same process when investigating linguistic assimilation amongst Csángós in Transylvania,


‘Without respect for their own community and with an uncertain national identity, a Csángó who arrives in a foreign environment, in Transylvania, doesn’t want to be part of a minority any longer but would like to be part of the majority…’[33]


The success of this strategy is of course subject to reversal on return to the original local ethnic environment in Moldavia.

As I mentioned earlier, not only are the Moldavian Csángós’ relations governed by ‘ill-defined ethnic borders’, they also display a weak level of ‘ethnic incorporation’. Don Handelman describes such groups as ‘ethnic networks’ when they display the kind of traits that he observed amongst the Fraco-Mauritians,


‘…a small numerical minority in a parliamentary democracy, they lack shared political organisation and do not function as a visible interest group, but there remains a strong sense of solidarity and cultural uniqueness.’[34]


Under such circumstances it is easy to see how it has been  argued by Hungarians and Romanians alike that the Moldavian Csángós don’t form a distinct ethnic group. However, ‘The organisational potential of ethnic identities is conditioned by local circumstances’[35], it is their local environment, in their everyday relations with their neighbours that differences are most evident and relevant. It is this that allows us to categorise the Moldavian Csángós alongside the coastal Lapps, in their respective environments, as,


‘…a population where institutionalised inter-ethnic relations are not organised with reference to the respective ethnic status directly, but which nevertheless are shaped by them.’[36]


This outline of the ethnic relations of a non-institutionalised local ethnic group contrasts sharply with the situation in Transylvania where the Hungarian minority’s relations with the Romanian majority are highly institutionalised and create quite a different pattern on inter-ethnic relations.


2.National Consciousness and the ‘National Minority’.


In the previous section I set out to demonstrate why, in a few key respects, the Moldavian Csángós fit the model of a distinct ethnic entity, from an anthropological perspective. However, it is also important that their group status be examined from a political ‘national’ perspective if we are to gain a full understanding of the Moldavian Csángós’ identity. The ‘national allegiance’ of the Moldavian Csángós and their relations with the Hungarian national minority are crucial factors in understanding the formation of this identity.

The national consciousness of the Moldavian Csángós plays a determining role in their relations with the Hungarian and the Romanian communities. The Csángós failed to mobilise ethnically in the last century and so never achieved the political goals sought by many of the larger minority groups in Eastern Europe. Their national consciousness didn’t evolve in line with their ethnic identity and didn’t follow the pattern of the ethno-linguistic nationalisms of the last century. Their brand of national consciousness is one that can be found amongst many smaller minorities in the Balkans, such as the Arvanites and Vlachs of Greece.

Since the fall of communism in Romania in 1989 there has been an upsurge of interest on the part of Hungarians, both from Hungary and Transylvania in forging links with the Moldavian Csángó community and we are also witnessing the beginnings of political mobilisation amongst Hungarian speaking Csángós.

This increased awareness, encouraged mainly by the few members of the Hungarian educated Csángó intelligentsia, is something that is emerging at the same time as an upsurge in Romanian nationalism (that is seeking to establish the Romanian origin of the Moldavian Csángós) and an accelerated rate of linguistic assimilation amongst Hungarian speaking Csángós.

The efforts of the small minority of Hungarian speaking Csángós to secure rights for the Csángós and to halt the process of assimilation is leading to the gradual politicisation of inter-ethnic relations in Moldavia.









The National Consciousness of the Moldavian Csángós


‘From the Hungarian point of view, the fact that they are practically the only group of Hungarians which didn’t take part in the formation of the nation, and were thereby frozen at the level of ‘ethnic group’, the question of the Csángós relationship and attitude towards the Hungarian nation has become a distinct problem. This is a problem that the researchers were not willing to take into consideration and so they simply labelled them Hungarians. This grossly oversimplified the question.’[37]


The Hungarian intelligentsia considered, and to a large extent still considers today, the Csángós of Moldavia to be not only ethnically Hungarian but also to be part of the Hungarian nation, to be ‘nationally Hungarian’.

According to Hungarian historians, groups of ethnic Hungarians began to settle in what is today Romanian Moldavia from the end of the 13th century. A process of gradual settlement from Transylvania continued through until the end of the 18th century and possibly later. Due to famine and constant conflict and invasions the Hungarian population didn’t rise significantly. This process meant, in the opinion of Péter Halász, that the settlers took with them a national consciousness reflective of the various stages of Hungarian national development that they had experienced in Hungary and Transylvania, and that,


‘It was characteristic of the great majority of them that they split away from the main body of Hungarians prior to the full development of the national consciousness that started it’s development with the enlightenment, began to flower during the Reformation and reached it’s peak in the War of independence, and which has since deepened and become more refined.’[38]


The Csángós are by no means an exceptional case in this, such ethnic communities separated by lesser or greater distances from their ethnic brethren prior to the development of a strong national consciousness are quite common in the Balkans.

Since the 1960’s Romanian Historians and ethnographers have argued that the settlers arriving in Moldavia during this long period were in fact ethnic Romanians, or at least a portion of them were, and that they were referred to as Hungarians because they came from the Hungarians lands. Irrespective of their ethnic origin, however, the most important factor in the formation of the this groups national consciousness is was the fact that they witnessed and took part in the formation of the Romanian nation and the development of Romanian National consciousness and not the Hungarian.

Whilst most other minority populations in Eastern Europe were mobilising along ethno-linguistic lines in the struggle for the formation of their own nation states, the Moldavian Csángós, cut off from their ethnic brothers and in tiny minority developed feelings of national solidarity with their Romanian neighbours and an incredibly strong attachment and reliance upon the Catholic Church. This process seems to have taken place without resulting in a loss or weakening of the ethnic identity and ethnic boundaries.

In this respect the Moldavian Csángós resemble the Arvanites of Greece. The Arvanites, live in Attica and Biotia, and speak a dialect of Albanian. They share many cultural traits, including language, with Albanians, which would generally ensure an ethnic groups identification with the mother nation. However, Arvanites consider themselves as wholeheartedly Greek, as the majority of Csángós consider themselves part of the Romanian nation.

Literacy and Education play an important role in the process of creating a national consciousness. The nationalist movements of the 19th century were generally linguistically inspired, and tended to equate language with ethnicity and membership of the nation. Following the birth of the new nation states in the Balkans, education began to be introduced on a much wider scale. This education was provided in the new national languages, which became the only language for all administrative and official purposes. The schools themselves became the means for the expansion and fostering of a national consciousness.

Most members of rural minority groups, being unable to read and write in their own languages only became literate in the language of the state. The national language gained prestige amongst minority groups and often resulted in the local vernacular being considered inferior. For example the following opinions were recorded amongst Arvanites about their own language, “Arvanitika isn’t nice”, “You can’t write it”, “It isn’t a real language”[39]. This attitude also prevails today amongst Moldavian Csángós,


‘Csángó is a mixture, both Hungarian and Romanian,….(a) Csángó can’t speak Hungarian properly nor Romanian, so it’s like Gypsy language…’[40]


In the case of Hungarian speaking Csángós this process is exacerbated further by two facts. Firstly, that the other part of the Csángó community speaks Romanian as a first language, the language of the state, and that language is also the only language that is allowed to be used in and by the Church, further adding to the prestige deficit of the Hungarian Csángó dialect. And secondly, that Hungarian speaking Csángós have difficulty understanding modern standard Hungarian,


‘The Moldavian Csángós don’t understand the Hungarian standard language, they speak an archaic Hungarian regional dialect, which because of the large number of words borrowed from Romanian and because of the linguistic archaisms, they themselves don’t regard it as being Hungarian at all, but as a kind of slang[41], half Romanian and half Hungarian’.[42]


Thus, without the main vehicle for the development of their own national consciousness, a ‘literary language’, the Moldavian Csángós, both Hungarian and Romanian speakers, were even more inclined to develop a Romanian national identity.

In Eastern Europe it was generally considered that ‘ethno-linguistic group’ equated to ‘nation’. In the case of the Moldavian Csángós this is certainly not so, as we have seen, it has been entirely possible for a group of people to the ‘ethnically’ on thing, and ‘nationally’ another.

The Csángó community is not homogeneous in this respect. A small minority of educated Hungarian speaking Csángós, having developed a strong Hungarian national consciousness and have forged political ties with the Hungarian national minority in Transylvania. Before going on to look at the gradual political mobilisation of this portion of the Hungarian speaking community and it’s links with Transylvanian Hungarian politics it is necessary to understand what the tern ‘national minority’ means in the Romanian context.

Romania and the term ‘National Minority’

At the time of the framing of the Treaty of Versailles, the term ‘national minority’ had already been rejected in favour of broader terms. It was felt that it could be interpreted too narrowly, especially in relation to religious groups, such as the Jews.

States could avoid compliance with international agreements by clever use of terminology, a strategy that was employed by Romania itself,

‘…Romania had evaded it’s responsibilities under Article 44 of the Treaty of Berlin of 1878 to grant religious tolerance by declaring that the Jews of the state were to be regarded as foreigners, and thus not entitled to the benefits of citizenship.’[43]

It was therefore deemed more appropriate to use terms such as ‘ethnic’, ‘racial’, linguistic’ or ‘religious’ to describe minority groups, to ensure that all the groups would fall within the scope of any legislation of international agreement. The tern ‘national minority’ continues to be used however, particularly in Eastern Europe.

There exists no clear definition of what is meant by the term ‘national minority’. It does imply, however, that those belonging to the minority group profess allegiance to a nation or have a national consciousness other than that of the majority population of the state of which they are citizens. The use of the term ‘national minority’ would also seem to subordinate the other characteristics of the minority group, such as the ‘ethnic’, ‘religious’ or ‘linguistic’ elements of their identity.

Romanian nationalists assert that there is no ‘Hungarian’ minority in Moldavia[44], by this they mean Hungarian national minority with a Hungarian national consciousness. This may not be far from the truth, yet there does exists in Moldavia a Hungarian linguistic minority, which also forms part of the Catholic ‘religious’ minority, a group which is recognised collectively with some Romanian speaking Catholics as forming an ‘ethnic other’ in Moldavian society.

Because of the Moldavian Csángós’ unwillingness to declare themselves as ‘nationally’ other than Romanian, their status in a country where all minorities are referred to as ‘national’ is uncertain.

A similar situation prevails in Greece in relation to her linguistic minorities. The Greek Council of Ministers, when they defined the terms for the recognition of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia on the 4th of December 1991, stated the following, ‘it should be recognised that, in Greece, there is no ‘Macedonian’ minority[45]. There exists in Greece a minority of people that speaks a language that is also spoken in Macedonia (The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), but this group is not recognised as being ‘nationally’ connected to the Macedonian state and nor does this group profess a Macedonian national consciousness. They are not official recognised as a minority group by the Greek government.

The Moldavian Csángós, like the Macedonians of Greece, are a minority group without status. The vast majority do not have a Hungarian national consciousness and not consider themselves to be part of the Hungarian national minority. Romania’s use of the term only obscures the status of small groups of ‘non-national minorities’.

Malcolm N. Shaw in his study, The Definition of Minorities in International Law, has this to say on the use of the term,


‘It would have been preferable if the term had disappeared altogether, not least because of the chronic uncertainty as to what is meant by ‘national’, but this has not happened’[46]


The Ethnic Mobilisation of the Hungarian Csángós

The phenomenon of ethnic mobilisation of the Csángós is a recent one and can only be traced back as far as the late 1940’s, to the time of Dr. Petru Groza’s government. The reasons for the failure of the Csángós to mobilise earlier can be put down to the rural character of the Csángó minority and it’s failure to produce an indigenous intelligentsia, other than a tiny, now archconservative, primarily ‘Romanophile’ clergy.

The reason why mobilisation came when it did, is mainly due to the efforts of Transylvanian Hungarians to instil in Hungarian speaking Csángós a Hungarian national consciousness based on their shared language.

Following the Second World War and with the rise of the Romanian Communist Party, nationalism took a backseat in Romanian politics and more favourable circumstances prevailed for the national minorities. There were many Hungarians and Jews in the leadership of the Communist Party and the Hungarian national minority was able re-organise itself politically under the umbrella of the Hungarian People Federation.

The Hungarian People’s Federation concentrated it’s activities in Moldavia to ensure that Csángós should have Hungarian language schools and religious services in the mother tongue. No form of Hungarian language state education had ever existed in Moldavia before and religious services in Hungarian, indeed the right to pray or sing in Hungarian, had been gradually phased out by the Bishop of Iaşi since the later part of the 19th Century. This is how this short lived period in the history of the Moldavian Csángós is viewed by the authors of The Hungarians of Romania 1919-1989,

‘In the History of the Moldavian Csángós the most secure period, following hundreds of years of persecution and isolation, was that which followed the second World War. At that tie in Romania they began to treat the Csángós as part of the Hungarian national minority. So in the schools Hungarian language sections started to function and in Bacău a Hungarian language teacher training college was founded. Priests of Csángó origin heard confession in Hungarian and in the churches Hungarian could be heard once more. The Hungarian Peoples Federation opened offices in the villages and began to represent the interests of the Csángós.’[47]

By 1948  as many as one hundred schools in Moldavia either had Hungarian as the language of instruction or offered lessons in the Hungarian language. There is evidence also that enthusiasm for Hungarian schools began to spread to communities where Hungarian was no longer spoken. This report appeared in the Hungarian language newspaper Romániai Magyar Szó, in February 1949,

‘On the main road between Bacău and Piatra Neamţi lies Moldavia’s smallest Csángó village, Lilieci de Jos (Alsóliliecs). The residents have almost completely forgotten their mother tongue, except for the very oldest, who with many borrowings from Romanian and with many mistakes, still speak a little Hungarian….After the formation of the local branch of the Hungarian People’s Federation, in ever greater numbers the villages have been pressing county officials to open a Hungarian school so that their children and grandchildren might learn anew their forgotten mother tongue.’[48]

This period of optimism was short lived and a backlash against what some Romanians came to believe was Hungarian expansion into Moldavia to Hungarianize the local Catholics, was soon to come. In 1953 the Hungarian Peoples Federation  was abolished by the Communist Party and by the end of 1955 virtually all Hungarian schools in Moldavia had closed, the very last one, in the village of Lespezi (Lészped), closing in 1958.

This short period in the history of the Moldavian Csángós is decisive, it not only marked the beginning of the emergence of a Hungarian national consciousness amongst some Csángós, it also sparked off the heated debate as to the ethnic origins of the Csangos. Romanian nationalists, some Romanian speaking Csángó priests amongst them, began a campaign that has continued to the present day to convince Csángós, Hungarian and Romanian speakers alike, that they are all ethnic Romanians and that they are an integral part of the Romanian nation. This campaign has been aided, at home in Romania and abroad, by the publication of works aimed at proving the Romanian origin of the Moldavian Csángós.[49]

This campaign has had a detrimental effect on the activities of those Hungarian speaking Csángós fighting for rights for the Csángós and struggling to preserve their Hungarian dialect. The majority of Moldavian Csángós, following this period were either forced, or chose to distance themselves from the Hungarian national minority.

This ethnic mobilisation, primarily inspired from Transylvania, was of a linguistic nature. It tried to strengthen the Hungarian  speaking communities sense of Hungarian ethnic identity. This ignored, however, the existence of the very large number of Moldavian Csángós that no longer spoke Hungarian and yet were still part of the wider Csángó ethnic community. This process of ethno-linguistic mobilisation of the Hungarian speakers resulted in a degree of alienation from the wider Romanian speaking Moldavian Csángó community. Thus giving rise to a conflict of identities within the Hungarian speaking community between being Hungarian on the one hand and belonging to the Moldavian Catholic ‘Csángó’ community on the other.

This short ‘most secure’ period was followed by a long period of what can be described as ‘national communism’. From the mid 1950’s until 1989, the national minorities of Romania lacked any sort of effective or genuine representation, all forms of political expression were suppressed and the regime became more and more totalitarian. Only with the advent of the political changes that took place in the winter of 1989-90 did the Csángós once more have the opportunity to mobilise ethnically. However, after such a long uninterrupted period of political suppression, as with the rest of the Romanian population, fear and uncertainty about the future has disinclined Moldavian Csángós to get involved in such issues as campaigning for Hungarian school or for the reintroduction of church services in the Hungarian.

A Csángó-Hungarian association did form very quickly following the downfall of the Ceausescu  regime, however, initially it lacked popular support in Moldavia itself and was inspired by Csángó ‘emigres’ in Transylvania and by Transylvanian Hungarians. The association, based in the Transylvanian town of Sfîntu Georghe, published a statement of intent soon after forming, which began as follows,

‘1. The Moldavian Csángó-Hungarian association is the mass organisation of the Roman Catholic citizens of Hungarian origin, regardless of the members present place of residence or of level of knowledge of the mother tongue.

2. The goal of the organisation is to represent and protect the interests of the community. In the interest of achieving this goal, the association will struggle to help the development of the Csángó ethnic consciousness and affiliation, will aid in the preservation of the ancient language, folk culture and civilisation.’[50]

The Csángó association since it’s foundation, has gradually begun to enjoy a little more popular support in Moldavia and has succeeded in setting up education programmes in conjunction with Hungarian schools in Transylvania and serious attempts are being made to halt the rapid process of linguistic assimilation amongst the population. What is notable, however, is the Csángó community’s reluctance to get involved in the wider political aims of the Hungarian national minority, as voiced by the Hungarian Democratic Forum of Romania, to which the Csángó-Hungarian Association is affiliated. This can be explained firstly by the sometimes  strained inter-ethnic relations between Csángós and Hungarians (as outlined in the first chapter), making them wary of entering into full partnership with them, and also by the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. Prior to the foundation of the Bishopric of Iaşi in 1884, the catechism used in Moldavia had been bilingual Hungarian-Romanian. However, with the creation of the Romanian state and the subsequent ‘state building’ activity, bishop Camilli, the first bishop of Iasi, probably in an attempt to demonstrate his credentials as a good Romanian, ordered the compulsory use of the Romanian language in the parishes under his jurisdiction. This move wasn’t popular amongst Hungarian speaking Csángós and the bishop received complaints pressing for the return of the Hungarian language. The villages of Luizi-Călugăra received the following response from the bishop in reply to their request,

‘The complainers should know that in Romania the language of the people is Romanian and it couldn’t be any other. So it would be an insult against the nation and a shame on the person who spoke a foreign language, for example Hungarian, in this country.’[51]

This has remained the policy of the Bishopric of Iaşi to this day. The leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Moldavia are of the opinion that the entire Csángó population is of Romanian origin and therefore should only use Romanian in their churches. They also stress that the Csángó dialect has no written form and that literary Hungarian is too far removed to be comprehensible to Moldavian Csángós (there are also some Hungarian linguists who support this notion).

The attitude of the church has sought to lower the prestige of the Hungarian Csángó dialect amongst it’s users and to encourage linguistic assimilation with the rest of the Csángó population in the hope of homogenising the Moldavian Catholic population.

We can see that the approach of the church has tried to reduce the potential for the Hungarian speaking Csángós to ally themselves with the Hungarian national minority in Transylvania. The process of linguistic assimilation has reached it’s final stages in many villages meaning that ethnic mobilisation along linguistic lines becomes increasingly less likely. Because the Csángós, on the whole have a Romanian national consciousness and are encouraged in this by a vehemently anti-Hungarian clergy and given that the majority of villages are now Romanian speaking, the chances of the whole Csángó community mobilising ethnically to preserve it’s culture are very slim. The Hungarian speaking section of the community has been hindered in it’s ethno-linguistic’ mobilisation by several key factors, the historic isolation from the Hungarian nation during the time of the formation of Hungarian national consciousness in the rest of the ethnic Hungarian regions, the swift rate of linguistic assimilation, the lack of a strong ethnic solidarity with Transylvanian Hungarians and the role of the church in propagating anti-Hungarian feeling.




‘There exists in Moldavia a religious community, which has two languages, many amongst them don’t understand the words of many of the others, because there are still people, mainly women, who in perhaps the most Romanian of Romanian regions, in a place that never belonged to the Hungarian kingdom, don’t speak Romanian. At the same time the majority of them only speak Romanian. But this people divided by language still remains the same people!’[52]

The Csángó community of Moldavia forms a distinct ethnic unit, the boundaries of which are defined not by the cultural traits which they share with the Hungarians and Romanians, but by inter-group relations. These are governed by an asymmetrical balance of power in favour of their ethnic neighbours and by ethnic stigmatisation of the community of the part of both Romanians and Hungarians. The level of ‘ethnic incorporation’, the degree to which they are organised as an ethnic unit, is conditioned by local circumstances. Despite the fact that they display a weak level of incorporation and have ill-defined boundaries they identify themselves and are ascribed by their ethnic neighbours, as a separate entity. This ethnic group to which they belong supplies them with their ‘basic, most general identity’[53]. This is one which doesn’t have to be acquired. The Csángó identity is one that is prescribed at birth and which, within their local environment, stays with them.

The relationship between the Moldavian Csángós sense of ethnic identity and their national consciousness doesn’t follow the pattern most common in Eastern Europe. The accepted pattern that the language you speak dictates which ‘ethnic group’ you belong to which is synonymous with the ‘nation’ to which you belong is not valid in the case of the Moldavian Csángós. The failure of the Hungarian speaking Csángós to associate themselves fully with the Hungarian national minority is due mainly to their failure to develop a Hungarian national consciousness. Language doesn’t define the borders of their ethnic group, nor does it define their national consciousness. A quite different pattern of identity formation has emerged amongst the Moldavian Csángós, which has parallels with many other numerically small minorities in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Factors such a geographic distance from ethnic brothers, failure to produce an indigenous intelligentsia, literacy in the local language or dialect, the wish to shed social stigma due to ethnic identity and the influence of the church, can all play a part in the formation of such a ‘hybrid’ identity containing elements of two seemingly incompatible ethnic nations.

The use of the term ‘national minority’ in Eastern Europe disguises the different nature of minority groups that exist and in it’s ambiguity may even be the cause of the non-recognition of many minority groups in the region as distinct groups that are worthy of rights and protection.

It can therefore be argued that the term ‘national minority’ is not appropriate for such minority groups, not possessing a national consciousness other than that of the majority nation and in the case of Hungarian speaking Moldavian Csángós, not associating themselves politically with their closest ethnic brothers, the Hungarians of Transylvania.

A term to define such a minority groups as the Moldavian Csángós, the Arvanites, Vlachs or Slav Macedonians of Greece, all of which have an ‘ethnic’ and or ‘linguistic’ component yet lack a ‘national’ one, could be sought, one  which would allow them the autonomy of expression of identity, free from the predatory nationalism of the nation states in which they find themselves.




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[1] See the works of D. Martinaş for the Romanian perspective and L. Mikecs and P. Halász for the Hungarian.

[2] The Legislative and Institutional Framework for the National Minoritird of Romania, The Council for National Minorities, Bucharest, 1994, p.9.

[3] as outlined in his introduction to Ethnic Groups and Boundaries, The Social Organisation of Culture Difference, ed. F. Barth, Oslo, 1969.

[4] The Legislative and Institutional Framework for the National Minoritird of Romania, The Council for National Minorities, Bucharest, 1994, p.9. 

[5] Reference taken from Dr. P. Kovács, Magyar-csángó jelenet Moldovában, Moldvai Magyarság, vol.3, no.31, 1992, p.2.

[6] Ibid.

[7] A Magyar Nyelv Értelmező Szótár, Budapest, 1966.

[8] Throughout, Romanian place names appear first, the Hungarian equivalent following in parenthesis.

[9] The Seklers live in the Romanian counties of Harghita, Covasna and Mures in Transylvania. They are considered to be the ancestors of a Turkic tribe that arrived in the Carpathian Basin with the Magyars. They have assimilated linguistically into the Hungarian population whilst maintaining a strong sense of ethnic Sekler-Hungarian identity.

[10] This is the Romanian form of the Hungarian word Csango. I have used the Hungarian form throughout as this is the most common form used in English language publications referring to this minority.

[11] A term used historically to refer to anyone that came from the Hungarian kingdom, which then included Transylvania. Now it is used in Moldavia to refer to Hungarians or someone of Hungarian descent. It is common for Moldavian Romanians to refer to Moldavian Catholics as ‘ungurii nostri’, ‘our Hungarians’, as opposed to ‘Maghiar’ which is reserved for Hungarians proper.

[12] For a rough breakdown of the Catholic population in Romania see, The Hungarian Minorities Situation in Ceausescu’s Romania, ed. J. Ludanyi, New York, 1994, pp. 82-86.

[13] T.H. Eriksen, Ethnicity and Nationalism, Anthropological Perspectives, London, 1993, p.34.

[14] Ethnic Groupd and Boundaries, The Social Organisatin of Culture Difference, ed. F. Barth, Oslo, 1969.

[15] Ibid., p.10.

[16] Ibid., p.12.

[17] Ibid., p.12.

[18] Ibid., p.12.

[19] T.H. Eriksen, Ethnicity and Nationalism, Anthropological Perspectives, London, 1993, p.37.

[20] See L. Benkó, ‘Ceangai, aveţi grija!’, Moldvai Magyarság, 1994, no.50, p.1, for an outline of the most recent research carried out by Romanian scholars and to be published by the Greater Romania foundation of the nationalist politician Corneliu Vadim Tudor.

[21] P. Halász, ‘A Moldvai Csángók magyarsag tudatáról’ in Nemzetiseg-Identitás, ed. Z. Újváry, Békéscsaba-Debrecen, 1991, pp. 213-215 (214).

[22] D. Martinaş, Originea ceangăilor din Moldova, Bucureşti, 1985.

[23] Ibid. p. 19.

[24] F. Pozsony, ‘Nyelvhasználat és az identitás  viszonya a moldvai csángóknál’, in Moldovának szip taiaínd születem, ed. A. Péterbencze, Budapest, 1993, pp. 110-114.


[25] A reflection of the dialect spoken by the informants from Săbăoani, which mixes a lot of Romanian words with archaic Hungarian.

[26] The younger children were studying at the József Attila school in Miercurea Cuic, the older ones at various secondary schools in the same town. They children came from the villages of Lespezi, Pustiana, coman, Cleja, Vladnic, Arini, Luizi-Călugăra and Gioseni.

[27] H. Eidheim, ‘When Ethnic Identity is a Social Stigma’, in Ethnic Groups and Boundaries, The Social Organisation of Culture Difference, ed. F. Barth, Oslo, 1969, pp.39-57 (39).

[28] T.H. Eriksen, Ethnicity and Nationalism, Anthropological Perspectives, London, 1993, p.41.

[29] Ibid. p.42.

[30] This is due partly to the persistence of traditional costume in Csángó villages, the poor command of Romanian demonstrated by Hungarian speakers and the tendency for Csángós to have very large families.

[31] H. Eidheim, ‘When Ethnic Identity is a Social Stigma’, in Ethnic Groups and Boundaries, The Social Organisation of Culture Difference, ed. F. Barth, Oslo, 1969, pp.39-57 (40).

[32] This is mainly down to the Moldavian Csángós having a better command of Romanian than most Hungarians or Sekler-Hungarians.

[33] Tánczos, V., “Én román akarok lenni” (Csángok erdélyben – Az etnikai-nyelvi-nemzeti identitás kérdései), Korunk, 3rd Series, vol.4, 1995, pp.61-69, (64).

[34] T.H Eriksen. Ethnicity and Nationalism, Anthropological Perspectives, London, 1993, P.42.

[35] H. Eidheim, ‘When Ethnic Identity is a Social Stigma’, in Ethnic Groups and Boundaries, The Social Organisation of Culture Difference, ed. F. Barth, Oslo, 1969, pp.39-57 (56).

[36] Ibid. p.55.

[37] V. Tánczos, “Én román akarok lenni” (Csángok erdélyben – Az etnikai-nyelvi-nemzeti identitás kérdései)’, Korunk, 3rd Series, vol.4, 1995, pp.61-69, (p.61).

[38] P. Halász, ‘A Moldvai Csángók magyarsag tudatáról’ in Nemzetiseg-Identitás, ed. Z. Újváry, Békéscsaba-Debrecen, 1991, pp. 213-215 (214).

[39] T. Trudgill, G. A. Tzavaras, ‘Why Greek-Albanians are not Albanians: Language Shift in Attica and Biotia’, in Language, Ethnicity and Intergroup Relations, ed. H. Giles, London, 1997, pp.171-184, (176).

[40] V. Tánczos, “Én román akarok lenni” (Csángok erdélyben – Az etnikai-nyelvi-nemzeti identitás kérdései)’, Korunk, 3rd Series, vol.4, 1995, pp.61-69, (p.68).

[41] I have translated the word ‘Korcsitura’ as ‘slang’. It is Romanian in origin but is used in Csángó Hungarian to mean ‘romlott, tökéletlen keveréknyelv’ (spoiled, defective mishmashed language).

[42] V. Tánczos, “Én román akarok lenni” (Csángok erdélyben – Az etnikai-nyelvi-nemzeti identitás kérdései)’, Korunk, 3rd Series, vol.4, 1995, pp.61-69, (p.68).


[43] M. N. Shaw, ‘The Definition of Minorities in International Law’, in The Protection of Minorities and Human Rights, ed. Y. Dinstein, M. Tabory, 1992, p.20. (hereafter ‘The Definition of Minorites’).

[44] See  Hungarian Realities in Romania, ed. N. M. Goodchild, London, 1980, pp. 70-78.

[45] The Southern Balkans, ed. MRG Greece, J. Pettifer, H. Poulton, Manchester, 1994, p.6.

[46] Shaw, ‘The Definition of Minorites’, p.22.

[47] Hetven év, A romániai magyarság története 1919-1989, ed. L. Diószegi, S. Sule, Budapest, 1990, p.16.

[48] Quoted from A. Bartis, ‘A Csángó-Magyar iskolákról’, Moldvai Magyarság, no,.9, 1990, p.1.

[49] See D. Martinaş, Originea ceangăilor din Moldova, Bucuresţi, 1985, and N. M. Goodchild, Hungarian Realities in Romania, London, 1980.

[50] Moldvai Magyarság, no.4, 1990, p.1.

[51] I. Pávai, ‘Chronological History of the Hungarians from Moldavia’, in “Nem engedi isten, hogy elveszejszenek”, ed. Z. Kallós, Kolozsvár, 1993, p.38.

[52] L. Vírt, ‘Nemzetisége katolokus’, Téka folyóirat, Budapest, 1990, p.20.

[53] See footnote 18.