Hutsul (Romanian: Huţul) of northern Moldavia

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Hutsul villages in Romania

Hutsul villages in Romania
First references
Migration into Moldavia

The Hutsul (Romanian Huţul) are mountain peoples with occupations in cattle breeding, and shepherding, forestry, and timber, who live in the upper reaches of the river Prut, in Pokutia (Romanian Pocuţia). The origin of the Hutsul has been suggested to be one of the migrating peoples - Cuman, Scythian, Celtic, Gothic, Dacian, Romanian. However,  they speak a dialect of Ukrainian and are generally thought to be Slavic, but have many Romanian influences in their language, costume and customs.

In the 9th century the political unity of the Ukraine was formed around the Poianian tribe of the Kiev region. Most of the original tribal names are only left as geographical and territorial names but in the mountainous Carpathians some diversity and traces of the old tribal characteristics have been preserved in the Slavic peoples of the Hutsul, Lemko and Boiko peoples.

The first references to the Hutsul are in the 14th century in current southern Ukraine. During the 15th century they colonised along the Prut river, over the mountains and along the Tisa river into Maramureş, and along the Ceremuş river towards northern Moldavia. In the 17th century they migrated across the mountains to the upper Suceava valley. By the late 17th century there were around 40 villages and further migration continued into the upper valleys of the Moldavia and Bistriţa rivers.


The Hutsul dance arkan (Romanian: arcan) is a men's dance performed in shoulder hold with a step not to distant from a typical "Balkan 3 measure" dance or the Carpathian brâul variant. The arkan was traditionally performed around a burning bonfire.

The Hutsulka or Verkhovynka appear to be line dances of northern Carpathian type.

Kolomiyka is common through western Ukraine.

Line dances
Balkan 3 measure 4 measure Hora uni-directional bi-directional circle
  Kolomiyka   Hutsulka  
Men's dances
Ritual dances Brâul Group men's dances Lad's dances Verbunc
Couple dances
walking dance
Turning dances Column dances Csardas Germanic &
central European



Basic structure is the same as the surrounding Romanian costumes with different motifs and different colour combinations, with more vivid colours based around red, yellow and orange. These colours are used for old and young women. The older (19th century) mens' costume had coats and trousers in red dimie cloth. The cut of shirt is the same as the Romanian with an altiţa, încreţ şi râulului called voloşca. Work chesmises are square neck cut, but those for festivals are decorated as the Carpathian chemises gathered at the neck. Made of linin hemp or cotton. woven on two heddles for the chemises. Those of hemp are thinker for the skirt. The square neck chemises the decoration follows the line of the cut. Gathered neck chemises differ from Romanian ones in that the decoration on the sleeves and the front have rectangles. On the sleeves the decoration is only on the  altiţa with one row on the lower edge. In the past there was decoration on the shoulders. Another version has tabla with the altiţa and încreţită. Motifs are generally little crosses peste fire chain stitch in woollen thread leaving little space on the white background. Also stylised floral motifs.

Fotă with woven coloured stripes which alternate in groups on the top. More recently they wear Romanian fotă.

Fabric pojas which is striped and wear a narrow woven belt over this.

Suman is made of full dimie in brown wool for the women, with narrow gussets and a poală. They wear a white mantaua on top of the suman decorated with red green or black postav and black braid - worn by women and men. They wear socks cioareci made of cloth called pidcolnice and obiele over these made of white or red pânza. For weddings they wear ciorapi knitted in coloured wool with geometric and floral motifs. Opinci with woollen or leather ties. For festivals they wear boots with carâmbi in red yellow or combined colours.

Men's costume in different to Romanian. The camasa is decorated around the neck and is shorter than Romanian ones. Festival ones decorated with embroydery in specific Hutsul colours of red orange green and black. Waistcoats are aplique in leather perforated and cut combined with floral motifs in specific colours. Suman in red cloth decorated with floral motifs around the neck and on the front. They wear a white mantaua along the Suceava valley.

Trousers made in red dimie decorated with green rows and ?despicat below the knees. They wear chimir belt in 4 to 5 catarame or woollen brâul called pois with narrow leather belt over it called a pasoc. Opinci called pastola tied with strings called volochi and cioreci leg raps called haci. Hat with ?gang.

Women's costume
Shirt Aprons/skirt Headwear Belt Overgarments
Cămaşă cu poală or Ie woollen fotă (local name opguta)   wide brâul (pojas) Suman
Men's costume
Shirt Trousers Headwear Belt Overgarments
  Kaszeniaky   pois  


Andronic, M (1918), Huţulii O Minoritate Din Bucovina (reprint), Suceava ISBN 973-0-00566-4

© Eliznik2005, Last updated Feb-08