The Identity(ies) of the Székelys Cover Image

A székely identitása(i)
The Identity(ies) of the Székelys

Author(s): Zsolt Orbán
Subject(s): 18th Century, 19th Century, Identity of Collectives
Published by: Korunk Baráti Társaság
Keywords: Székely; group identity; ethnicity; myth

Summary/Abstract: In the last two decades there were many political, economical and cultural initiatives that tried to highlight the Székely (or Szekler) ethnicity, the otherness and uniqueness of Székely identity. The study aims to give an answer to the question: are Székelys entirely Hungarian or do they have a distinct identity? Throughout the Middle Ages the Székelys were one of the three Transylvanian estates, their fraternity with the Hungarians being emphasized starting from the 18th century. The Hungarian Revolution of 1848 is considered a milestone, when Székelys put away their particular identity and embraced the Hungarian one, becoming members of the Hungarian political nation. Although they identify themselves as Hungarians and are part of the Hungarian culture, the Székelys have always maintained a somewhat distinct ethnic identity. They have always seized the opportunity to accentuate their ancient, Hunnic origin, their millennial freedom, equality, autonomy, democracy, heroism, isolation. This can be tracked in the historiography, literature, press, public discourse, heritage-making politics, in promoting or (re)inventing traditions etc. in the last two centuries.

  • Issue Year: 2021
  • Issue No: 12
  • Page Range: 29-37
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: Hungarian