Doc. 8713
13 April 2000

Csángó culture

Motion for a resolution

presented by Mrs. Isohookana-Asunmaa and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only

the members who have signed it

1.       The ethnic group of the Csángós (Ceangai in Romanian) is a relic from the Middle Ages that has survived in the eastern part of Romania. Their identity is based on the Roman Catholic religion and the archaic Hungarian language spoken in the family. Csángó culture preserves many ethnic and linguistic peculiarities, ancient traditions, as well as a great diversity of folk art.

2.       The first and only dictionary so far of the Csángó language was published in 1936 by a Finnish philologist.

3.       Today the Csángó culture is on the verge of extinction. Out of about 200 000 Csángós only 60 000 - 70 000 speak the Hungarian Csángó dialect. Only assistance on the European level can help to preserve this unique east-central European heritage and strengthen the ethnic group and its individuals in their cultural identity.

4.       The Csángós are one of the best examples of European cultural diversity. This ethnic group has for centuries been living in an area with a Romanian majority, isolated from other areas where Hungarian is spoken. This has resulted in the development of an ethnic island with its own specific culture, interacting with elements of Romanian culture.

5.       In the area where Csángós live the language of the school and the Church is exclusively Romanian. Consequently, almost all Csángós are illiterate as regards their mother tongue. We are thus witnessing the speedy extinction of the Csángó dialect, which has survived for centuries as the language of the family and the village community.

6.       The majority of Csángós are peasants. This fact, as well as the strong persistence of isolated cultures, explains the highly traditional forms of their national costume (embroidery and weaving) and of their ceramics. The folk songs and ballads of the Csángós represent a rich example of the most archaic strata of Hungarian folk music. Their instrumental music as well as their rich system of dance share many of the characteristics of the neighbouring Romanian villages.

7.       The Assembly encourages the Romanian authorities to guarantee a living future for the Csángós on the cultural map of Europe. The following principles should be taken into account:

i.       the singular and important cultural and religious values of the Csángós should be preserved;

ii.       whenever possible Csángó children should be provided with teaching in their mother tongue;

iii.       efforts should be made to support Csángó teacher training;

iv.       access to the media should be provided.

Signed : 1

Isohookana-Asunmaa, Finland, SOC

Debono Grech, Malta, SOC

Hadjidemetriou, Cyprus, SOC

Hegyi, Hungary, SOC

Irmer, Germany, LDR

Jakic, Slovenia, LDR

Legendre, France, EDG

Libicki, Poland, EDG

Martelli, Italy, EPP/CD

Pinggera, Italy, EPP/CD

Roseta, Portugal, EPP/CD

Urbanczyk, Poland, SOC

Zingeris, Lithuania, EDG

1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party

      EDG: European Democratic Group

      LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group