The Hutsuls (Ukrainian: Гуцули, romanizedHutsuly; Polish: Huculi, Hucułowie; Romanian: huțuli) are an East Slavic ethnic group spanning parts of western Ukraine and Romania (i.e. parts of Bukovina and Maramureș).

Hutsul family, 1925–1939
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Ukraine23,900 (2001)[1]
 RomaniaAt least 2,500[2]
Predominantly Ukrainian Greek Catholic or Eastern Orthodox
Related ethnic groups
Boykos, Lemkos, Rusyns, Pokutians

They have often been officially and administratively designated a subgroup of Ukrainians,[4] and are largely regarded as constituting a broader Ukrainian ethnic group.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11]



The origin of the name Hutsul is uncertain.[12] The most common derivations are from the Romanian word for "outlaw" (cf. Rom. hoț "thief", hoțul "the thief"), and the Slavic kochul (Ukr. kochovyk "nomad") which is a reference to the semi-nomadic shepherd lifestyle or the inhabitants who fled into the mountains after the Mongol invasion.[13][12] Other proposed derivations include from the Turkic tribe of the Utsians or Uzians, and even to the name of the Moravian Grand Duke Hetsyla, among others.[14] As the name is first attested in 1816, it is considered to be of recent origin and as an exonym, used by neighboring groups and not Hutsuls themselves, although some have embraced it.[13] The region inhabited by Hutsuls is named as Hutsulshchyna.[15][16] Their name is also found in the name of Hutsul Alps,[17] Hutsul Beskyd,[18] Hutsulshchyna National Park,[19] and National Museum of Hutsulshchyna and Pokuttia Folk Art.[20]

History and origins

Painting of a Hutsul man and woman in 1902 by Seweryn Obst.
Hutsul family in Verkhovyna, 1933.

Hutsuls inhabit areas situated between the south-east of those inhabited by the Boykos, down to the northern part of the Romanian segment of the Carpathians. Several hypotheses account for the origin of the Hutsuls, however, like all the Rusyns, they most probably have a diverse ethnogenetic origin. It is generally considered to be descendants of the White Croats, a Slavic tribe that inhabited the area,[13][12][21] also Tivertsi, and possibly Ulichs who had to leave their previous home near the Southern Bug river under pressure from the Pechenegs.[13][12][22] There is also considered a relation to Vlach shepherds who later immigrated from Transylvania,[21][23] because of which some scholars like Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga argued that "huțuli" or "huțani" are denationalized Vlachs / Romanians.[24][25] According to the 1930 Romanian census, in Romania within its borders at that time, including northern Bukovina, currently a part of Ukraine, there were 12,456 Hutsuls.[26] According to the Romanian census of 1941, in addition to the mostly (51.2%) self-identified ethnically Ukrainian population of Northern Bukovina, almost all the 6,767 inhabitants of the Seletyn district (plasa) were self-identified ethnic Hutsuls.[27]



Hutsul is considered to be a dialect of Western Ukrainian with some Polish and Ukrainian influences[28][29][30][31] along with Pokuttia-Bukovina dialect and the dialects of the Lemkos and Boykos. Since the annexation of western Ukraine regions, including Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi Oblast as well as Transcarpathia by the Soviet Union, compulsory education has been conducted only in standardized literary Ukrainian. In recent years there have been grassroots efforts to keep the traditional Hutsul dialect alive.[needs update]

Way of life and culture

Hutsul wedding dress, bead embroidery

Traditional Hutsul culture is often represented by the colorful and intricate craftsmanship of their clothing, sculpture, architecture, woodworking, metalworking (especially in brass), rug weaving (see lizhnyk), pottery (see Kosiv ceramics), and egg decorating (see pysanka). Along with other Hutsul traditions, as well as their songs and dances, this culture is often celebrated and highlighted by the different countries that Hutsuls inhabit.[citation needed]

Ukrainian Hutsul culture bears a resemblance to neighboring cultures of western and southwestern Ukraine,[32][33] particularly Lemkos and Boykos. These groups also share similarities with other Slavic highlander peoples, such as the Gorals in Poland and Slovakia.[34] Similarities have also been noted with some Vlach cultures such as the Moravian Wallachians in the Czech Republic, as well as some cultures in Romania.[35] Most Hutsuls belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Hutsul society was traditionally based on forestry and logging, as well as cattle and sheep breeding; the Hutsuls are credited with having created the breed of horse known as the Hucul pony. One of the main attributes of Hutsuls' is their Shepherd's axe (bartka), a small axe with a long handle that is still used to this day for chopping wood, as a cane, for fighting and traditional ceremonies. They would often be intricately decorated with traditional wood carving designs and passed on from generation to generation especially upon marriage.[36] They use unique musical instruments, including the "trembita" (trâmbiţa), a type of alpenhorn, as well multiple varieties of the fife, or sopilka, that are used to create unique folk melodies and rhythms. Also frequently used are the duda (bagpipe), the drymba (Jew's harp), and the tsymbaly (hammered dulcimer).

The Hutsuls served as an inspiration for many artists, such as writers Ivan Franko, Lesya Ukrainka, Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky, Vasyl Stefanyk, Marko Cheremshyna, Mihail Sadoveanu and Stanisław Vincenz, and painters such as Kazimierz Sichulski and Teodor Axentowicz—famous for his portraits and subtle scenes of Hutsul life—and Halyna Zubchenko. Sergei Parajanov's 1965 film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (Тіні забутих предків), which is based on the book by Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky, portrays scenes of traditional Hutsul life. Composer Ludmila Anatolievna Yaroshevskaya composed a work for piano based on Hutsul folk music (Fantasy on Hutsul Themes).[citation needed]

Every summer, the village of Sheshory in Ukraine hosts a three-day international festival of folk music and art. Two Hutsul-related museums are located in Kolomyia, Ukraine: the Pysanka museum and the Museum of Hutsul and Pokuttia Folk Art. Traditional Hutsul sounds and moves were used by the Ukrainian winner of the 2004 Eurovision song contest, Ruslana Lyzhychko.[citation needed]

The Romanian Hutsuls have a Festival of Hutsuls at the Moldova-Sulița village in Suceava county.[citation needed] In the 1996 elections to the Romanian Chamber of Deputies, the General Union of the Associations of the Hutsul Ethnicity (Uniunea Generala a Asociatiilor Etniei Hutule) obtained 646 votes (0.01% of the total).[37] In the 2000 elections to the Romanian Chamber of Deputies, the General Union of the Associations of the Hutsul Ethnicity (Uniunea Generala a Asociatiilor Etniei Hutule) obtained 1225 votes out of 10,839,424 votes (0.01% of the total).[38] According to the representatives of the Hutsuls, in the 2002 census, they "preferred to declare themselves Romanians in order not to be included in the category of Ukrainians".[39]

Notable people


See also



  1. ^ "Всеукраїнський перепис населення 2001 | Русская версия | Результаты | Национальный состав населения, гражданство | Численность лиц отдельных этнографических групп украинского этноса и их родной язык | Результат выбора". Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  2. ^ Hutsuls are counted as Ukrainians, Rusyns or Romanians in the 2011 and 2022 censuses
  3. ^ "All-Ukrainian Population Census 2001". All-Ukrainian Population Census 2001 (in Ukrainian).
  4. ^ "На Закарпатті Рахівська районна рада рада звернулася з протестом до Президента та Генпрокуратури проти рішення обласної ради про визнання національності "русин"". 23 March 2007.
  5. ^ "ARBA guide to subject encyclopedias and dictionaries". Choice Reviews Online. 35 (3): 35–1240-35-1240. 1 November 1997. doi:10.5860/choice.35-1240. ISSN 0009-4978. For instance, the cross-reference "Carpatho-Rus" see "Carpatho-Rusyn" should include see also references to Ukrainians and Ukrainian Hutsuls because they constitute a subgroup of Ukrainians and speak Hutsul Ukrainian dialects.
  6. ^ Birch, Julian (1977). "Détente and the Democratic Movement in the USSR". International Affairs. 53 (3): 499–500. doi:10.2307/2615362. ISSN 1468-2346. JSTOR 2615362. in which he praised the Hutsuls, a little-known subgroup of the Ukrainian people
  7. ^ To build in a new land : ethnic landscapes in North America. Allen G. Noble. Baltimore. 1992. ISBN 0-8018-4188-7. OCLC 23940528. They were by no means a homogeneous group, for they included members of many ethnographic Ukrainian subgroups, such as Hutsuls from the Carpathian highlands{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. ^ Victoria Coyne, Erin. "Coming Down From the Mountain: Dialect Contact and Convergence in Contemporary Hutsulshchyna" (PDF). University of California, Berkeley.
  9. ^ Dabrowski, Patrice M. (2018). "Poles, Hutsuls, and Identity Politics in the Eastern Carpathians after World War I". Zeitschrift für Genozidforschung. 16 (1): 19–34. doi:10.5771/1438-8332-2018-1-19. ISSN 1438-8332.
  10. ^ "Hutsuls". Retrieved 7 March 2021. An ethnographic group of Ukrainian pastoral highlanders inhabiting the Hutsul region in the Carpathian Mountains
  11. ^ Annals of Warsaw University of Life Sciences - SGGW - Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW Press. 2020. doi:10.22630/ahla. The Hutsuls are Ukrainian highlanders who live on the Northern slopes of the Carpathians over the Prut river
  12. ^ a b c d Ковпак Л.В. (2004). ГУЦУЛИ (in Ukrainian). Vol. 2. Naukova Dumka, NASU Institute of History of Ukraine. ISBN 966-00-0632-2. Г. – нащадки давніх слов'ян. племен – білих хорватів, тиверців й уличів, які в 10 ст. входили до складу Київської Русі ... Питання походження назви "гуцули" остаточно не з'ясоване. Найпоширеніша гіпотеза – від волоського слова "гоц" (розбійник), на думку ін., від слова "кочул" (пастух). {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  13. ^ a b c d Nicolae Pavliuc, Volodymyr Sichynsky, Stanisław Vincenz (2001) [1989]. Hutsuls. Vol. 2. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0802033628. According to K. Milewski and Józef Korzeniowski, the name hutsul was originally kochul ('nomad,' cf literary Ukrainian kochovyk), which became kotsul and then hotsul, and referred to inhabitants of Kievan Rus' who fled from the Mongol invasion into the Carpathian Mountains. Other scholars (eg, Ivan Vahylevych) believed that the name derives from a subtribe of the Cumans or Pechenegs—the ancient Turkic Utsians or Uzians — who fled from the Mongols into the mountains. S. Vytvytsky proposed that the name derives from Hetsylo, the brother of Prince Rostislav of Moravia, or from the name of a tribe allied with the Ostrogoths—the Horulians-Hutsians. Since the 19th century the most widely accepted view (held by Yakiv Holovatsky, Omelian Kaluzhniatsky, Omelian Ohonovsky, Ivan Krypiakevych, Volodymyr Hnatiuk, I. Pătruţ, and others) has been that the name comes from the Romanian word for brigand, hoţul/hoţ. The Soviet scholar Bronyslav Kobyliansky claimed that the Hutsuls are descended from the Slavic tribe of the Ulychians who resettled in the Carpathian Mountains. Based on the first written mention of the name (1816), Stefan Hrabec and Volodymyr Hrabovetsky believe the name is of recent origin and that it was originally a nickname given to the region's inhabitants by the neighboring Boikos ... The Slavic White Croatians inhabited the region in the first millennium AD; with the rise of Kievan Rus', they became vassals of the new state. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ "Hutsulshchyna: The Name and Origin". KosivArt. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  15. ^ Volodymyr Kubijovyč, Nicolae Pavliuc (2001) [1989]. Hutsul region. Vol. 2. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0802033628. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  16. ^ Закревська Я.В. (2004). ГУЦУЛЬЩИНА (in Ukrainian). Vol. 2. Naukova Dumka, NASU Institute of History of Ukraine. ISBN 966-00-0632-2. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  17. ^ Hutsul Alps. Vol. 2. University of Toronto Press. 2001 [1989]. ISBN 978-0802033628. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  18. ^ Volodymyr Kubijovyč (2001) [1989]. Hutsul Beskyd. Vol. 2. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0802033628. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  19. ^ Volodymyr Kricsfalusy (2011). Hutsulshchyna National Nature Park. University of Toronto Press. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  20. ^ Kolomyia Museum of Hutsul Folk Art. Vol. 2. University of Toronto Press. 2001 [1989]. ISBN 978-0802033628. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  21. ^ a b Magocsi, Paul Robert (1995). "The Carpatho-Rusyns". Carpatho-Rusyn American. XVIII (4). The purpose of this somewhat extended discussion of early history is to emphasize the complex origins of the Carpatho-Rusyns. They were not, as is often asserted, exclusively associated with Kievan Rus', from which it is said their name Rusyn derives. Rather, the ancestors of the present-day Carpatho-Rusyns are descendants of: (1) early Slavic peoples who came to the Danubian Basin with the Huns; (2) the White Croats; (3) the Rusyns of Galicia and Podolia; and (4) the Vlachs of Transylvania.
  22. ^ George Shevelov (2002) [1979]. "A Historical Phonology of the Ukrainian Language" (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 23 July 2008. Говорячи про Україну, слід брати до уваги такі доісторичні слов'янські племена, перелічені та/або згадані в Київському Початковому літописі, як деревляни (Середнє Полісся), сіверяни (Східне Полісся), поляни (Київщина, цебто ядро Русі), бужани (називані також волинянами або дулібами), уличі або улучі, тиверці (Подністров'я) та хорвати (Карпати? Перемищина?). Дуліби востаннє згадуються в записі за 907 р., уличі за 922 р., поляни й тиверці за 944 р., деревляни за 990 р., хорвати за 992 р., сіверяни за 1024 р. Дивлячись суто географічно, середньополіські говірки можуть бути виведені від деревлян, східнополіські від сіверян, західноволинські від дулібів; висловлено також гіпотезу, обстоювану — з індивідуальними нюансами — низкою вчених (Шахматовим, Лєр-Сплавінським, Зілинським, Нідерле, Кобилянським та ін.), що гуцули, а можливо й бойки, є нащадками уличів, які під тиском печенігів залишили свої рідні землі над Богом, переселившися до цієї частини карпатського реґіону. Проте нам нічого не відомо про мовні особливості, якими відрізнялися між собою доісторичні слов'янські племена на Україні, а отже будь-які спроби пов'язати сучасні говірки зі згаданими племенами ані довести, ані, навпаки, спростувати незмога.
  23. ^ И. А. Бойко (2016). ГУЦУ́ЛЫ (in Russian). Bolshaya Rossiyskaya Entsiklopediya, Russian Academy of Sciences. Г. сложились в результате заселения в 14–18 вв. возвышенной части Украинских Карпат выходцами из равнинных областей Украины, испытали влияние румын и других соседних народов. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  24. ^ Nicolae Iorga, Românismul in trecutul Bucovinei, BUCURESTI, 1938, pag.1
  25. ^ Ewa Kocój (2015). "Heritage without heirs? Tangible and religious cultural heritage of the Vlach minority in Europe in the context of an interdisciplinary research project". Balcanica Posnaniensia Acta et Studia. Baner. 22 (1). Jagiellonian University, Faculty of Management and Social Communication, Kraków, Poland: 141–142. The prevailing religion among Lemkos and Boykos, who are the representatives of the Vlach minority in Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine, includes the Orthodox faith and then the Greek Catholic Church ... Hutsuls, who inhabit the south-west of Ukraine (Chornohora) and the north of Romania, are mostly Orthodox and, to a much lesser extent, Greek Catholics
  26. ^ Recensamant 1930 Wikimedia
  27. ^ I. M. Nowosiwsky, Bukovinian Ukrainians: A Historical Background and Their Self-Determnation in 1918 (New York, NY: The Shevchenko Scientific Society, 1970), p. 168.
  28. ^ "Youth organizations of Prykarpattia initiate giving regional status to Hutsul dialect". Ukrainian Independent Information Agency. 21 June 2006. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  29. ^ Clark, Kathy and Bill (12 July 1997). "Kosmach". Kathy and Bill Clark's Ukrainian Vacation. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  30. ^ "The Hutsuls People". Ensemble "Halychyna". Archived from the original on 22 May 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  31. ^ "Hutsules" (in French). Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  32. ^ "Dress". Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  33. ^ "KIEV, UKRAINE: Ukrainian folk costumes". Archived from the original on 27 December 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2006.
  34. ^ "PGSA - Gorale[Highlanders]". Archived from the original on 15 February 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2006.
  35. ^ "Ukrainian Tribal Divisions and Ethnographic Groups". Archived from the original on 29 June 2001. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  36. ^ "Unique Traditions of Hutsuls in Ukraine". Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  37. ^ Archived copyArchived 14 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ Archived copy Archived 12 February 2002 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ Gheorghe Flutur imputernicit de hutuli sa le reprezinte interesele in Parlament News Bucovina, 8 November 2004