ONCE THEY WERE HUNS

Alessandro Vincenzi

The Csango people are a Hungarian ethnographic group of Roman Catholic faith living mainly in the Romanian region of Moldova, especially in the Bacău County. Their traditional language is an archaic Hungarian dialect, currently used only by the Csango minority. The Csangos are one of the most enigmatic minorities in Europe; no consensus on who were their ancestor (some says Mongolian or Huns) or how many are they today.
Their number range from 260,000, which is the number that corresponds to the Catholic population in the area, till 3,000 that seems the people that declare themselves as Csango. Nobody really knows how many Csango people are still living in Romania.
It is a culture on the verge of extinction; the Council of Europe has expressed its concerns about the situation of the Csango minority, which is of exceptional value for Europe. It seems that between 60,000 and 70,000 people speak the Csango language, as according to the Romanian law on education, despite repeated requests from parents, there is no teaching of the Csango language in the Csango villages. As a consequence, very few Csangos are able to write in their mother tongue. Apparently the Csangos are not making any political demands, but they merely want to be recognized as a distinct culture and demand education and church services in the Csango language.

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