The Hutsul
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The Hutsul

The Colourful Carpathian People

The Colourful Carpathian People

The Hutsuls are an Ukrainian ethnographic group usually inhabiting the western parts of the country, more precisely the Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi and Zakarpattya regions. Some communities today live in Romania.


  • Region is Europe

  • Climate here is Continental



Hutsuls’ economy is traditionally based on forestry, logging, cattle breeding and sheep breeding. Their community is known to have created a breed of horse known as the “Hutsul pony”.


A Hutsul village includes single cottages scattered far away from each other. Since the mid-19th century, the traditional home includes a porch built in front of the houses, which is now very representative of their traditional architecture. The house’s structure is in wood, it includes many windows and it used to have a thick thatched roof, nowadays replaced by a more practical metal one.


Social Structure

Hutsuls used to have a rigid patriarchal social system. Traditional folk tales and traditions dictated their whole society. During the 19th century, oppressed by other populations and landlords, many communities migrated to coastal areas by the sea or the ocean. In 1918 in Yasinia the Hutsul Republic was founded, however in 1919 the Romanian Army took over the territory and ended the Republic.


Depending on the country they live and region, Hutsuls follow Eastern Orthodox, Greek Catholicism, Roman Catholicism and Judaism religion.


Hutsuls have kept different old folk beliefs. Their folklore is very rich of old tales and legends, this is why many farmers are keeping the tradition alive with old practices to keep the crops and cattle healthy. Healthy cultivation is extremely important and they believe that when someone had been unfair in lands’ disputes they turn into moles in their next life. They also believe that if someone spitted in a vegetable garden the crop will rot.

Depending on the region Hutsuls farmers do not plant onion on Wednesdays since it is believed that it would not grow in round shape.


Hutsuls speak Hutsul language, considered a dialect of Western Ukrainian and endangered. They also speak Ukrainian.


Hutsuls are skilled wood carvers, potters and excellent weavers. Colourful designs and embroideries distinguish their traditional art.


“Polonyna” is an important ceremony for the Hutsul community, it consist in sending off shepherds to the distant mountain valleys. The ceremony includes three things characterizing the life of a Hutsul shepherd: fire, music and goat cheese.

Traditional Hutsul wedding is still practiced. Traditional dances are performed, songs played, and the bride and groom are dressed with extremely elaborated gowns.

Christmas is very important 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

Hutsul favourite weapon was the “bartka” – a small hatchet with a long decorated handle, used in many different occasions, from hunting and for self-defence. They used to pass it down from generation to generation as an important family shrine.

Their traditional dresses have characteristic bold and bright colours; the designs of the embroideries have different symbolic meanings.

Ukraine Carpathian mountains

Hutsul man

Hutsul copule

Hutsul woman

Hutzul musicians

Wooden Hutsul manor