The Boykos
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The Boykos

Guardians of the Carpathians

Guardians of the Carpathians

Till today the origin of the Boykos people's is unclear. Currently, the community inhabits the High Beskyd, the Gorgany Mountains, and most villages can be found in the Middle Carpathian Depression. In general, Boykos differ from area to area in dialect, dress, folk architecture, and customs.
Snapshot

Snapshot

  • Region is Europe

  • Climate here is Continental

  • The challenge here is Casual

  • This trip has been rated 5 by other travelers

Life

Life

Traditionally, the families supported themselves by animal husbandry on private lands as they paid the landlords in animal and forest products. They also carried salt to Galicia and Volhynia, and they used to be very able dealers of fruits and other goods sold in all Europe. Nowadays, Boykos practice agriculture, growing oats and potatoes, and dairying, sheep grazing, and ox breeding. Some have found jobs in lumbering and in the petroleum industry. Some still follow traditional practices of making cheese and baking bread.
Home

Home

The traditional architecture includes houses with a porch, standard of the region’s populations. The structure is made of wood timbers, includes many windows, and used to have a thick thatched roof, nowadays replaced by a more practical metal one. Villages are scattered in the river valleys and come in clusters. The three-domed Boyko churches with their unique design structure have a very distinctive arcade and are incredible works of traditional architecture.

Culture

Social Structure

Boykos used to have a rigid patriarchal social system. Traditional folk tales and traditions dictated their whole society.

Religion

Boykos follow the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, while some follow the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Traditions

Depending on the area where they live, Boykos differ from other Boyko communities in language, dress, folk architecture, and customs. Traditional dresses include linen trousers and shirts, sheepskin vests, short coats or woollen overcoats, woollen coats, wide-brimmed hats, leather shoes, and leather belts.

The Boykos have preserved diverse ancient folk customs, rituals and legends. Some of these traditions are considered fundamental for national history and heritage.

Language

Boykos have a variety of dialects considered archaic. They conserved some characteristics of ancient Ukrainian and Proto-Slavic languages.

Art

Boykos are skilled woodcarvers, potters, and excellent weavers. Colourful designs and embroideries distinguish their traditional art.

Celebrations

Boykos communities hold the ethnic festival “World Boiko Festivities”, very popular since it is a sort of gathering of all Boykos families living abroad. It is held in Turka Raion every five years since 1992. During the celebrations, they play kolomyikas (a Hutsul music genre) and other traditional songs.

Christmas is vital for the community and planned long before the date. Traditional food is cooked, and family and friends reunite during big banquets.
Further knowledge

Further knowledge

The Carpathian Mountains are an incredible natural heritage of the country, and they range through the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Serbia, and Romania. The mountains are home to brown bears, wolves, chamois, and lynxes, and there are over one-third of all European plant species.


Cover photo Carpathians
iStock.com/Taras Khimchak