The Hungarian Kalotaszeg region is a compact area of Hungarian villages situated in the Huedin (Bánffyhunyad) basin and along the valleys towards Cluj (Kolozsvár). The wider ethnographic zones are on our Cluj region page.
Hungarian settlement was relatively early with villages listed in documents from 13th century with the name Kalotaszeg being first documented in 1443. This region is part of the estate of the Bánffy family (one of the longest established noble families who owned a large estate from the 14th to 19th centuries).
Although Huedin is at the source of the Criş river which flows through the region of Bihor; and Alszeg and Felszeg once belonged to Bihar county, there is little connection between the folk culture of the Kalotaszeg region and that of Bihor. The road and rail link through this narrow valley is a recent route, as the former communication route was through Sălăj county.
This small region has a relatively uniform folk culture, with strong similarities to the neighbouring regions of Transylvania. Economic and seasonal working in Hungary have led to the adoption of 19th century Hungarian songs, dance melodies and the Csárdás, which is not the case in central Transylvania. The discovery and exhibiting of Kalotaszeg folk art in Budapest in the 19th century led to increased local interest in the production and sale of folk art pieces. The music, dance and costume has continued to absorb many influences and fashions through the 20th century giving a strong cultural identity which has been a focus for the Budapest Tanchaz revival and many TV documentaries.
These influences have led to the music and dances being less archaic than those found in the Transylvanian plain, with the newer Hungarian music dominating the song repertoire and much of the dance repertoire.
The peasant costume, which was previously similar to neighbouring peasant costumes, has absorbed modern urban influences in the 20th century and developed into the costume that is now considered characteristic of the Kalotaszeg region.
Bodiu, A, Munteanu, S (2002), Portul Traditional Românesc din Judeţul Cluj, Mediamira, Cluj
Bodiu, A, Munteanu, S (2003), Portul Popular Maghiar din Judeţul Cluj, Mediamira, Cluj
Domjan, E. A. Parta, American Hungarian Folklore Centrum
Kiicsi, I. S. S. (1996) In Transylvania 1 - Nagyvarad to Hargita, Officina Nova.
Original village music from Kalotaszeg - István Pávai FONO FA-113-2, FONO 102-2
Original village music from Kalotaszeg Szaszfenes (Floresti) - István Pávai FONO FA-113-2
Maygar népzene Erdélyböl Méra - Syncoop 5755 CD188
Clacă de Tors din Valea Drăganului - Electrecord EPE 01440
Jocuri din Călata-Inuc (Inaktelke) - Electrecord EPE 01799
"Someşul - Napoca" din Cluj - Electrecord SE-EPC 01848
Kalotaszegi Magyar Nepzene - Kallos Archiv 5
Méra - Syncoop 5755 CD 188