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Boyko or Boiko (Cyrillic: Бойки, Polish: Bojkowie, Slovak: Pujďáci) are a distinctive group of Ukrainian highlanders or mountain-dwellers of the Carpathian highlands. Along with Lemkos and Hutsuls they are a national continuum of Carpathian nationalities also known as Gorals.
Boykos identify themselves as part of the Ukrainian ethnos which has derived from the Ruthenians (Ukrainian: Русини, Rusyny). With time the term "Ukrainian" replaced the term "Ruthenians" in Eastern Ukraine a century earlier, became more common among Western Ruthenians/Ukrainians, including Boykos, as well. According to the recent census practically all Boykos in Ukraine declared their ethnicity as Ukrainian. Only 131 people distinctly identified as Boyko. In the Polish census of 2011, 258 people identified their nationality as Boyko, but only for 14 of them it was the only national identification.
The Boykos inhabit the central and the western half of the Carpathians in Ukraine across the such regions as the southern Lviv Oblast (Skole, Turka, Drohobych, Sambir and Stary Sambir Raions), western Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast (Dolyna and Rozhniativ Raions) and parts of the northeastern Zakarpattia Oblast (Mizhhiria Raion), as well as the adjacent areas of southeast Poland and northeast Slovakia.
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The name "Boyko" is thought by some to originate in their patterns of speech, specifically the use of the affirmative exclamation "bo-ye!", meaning the only or because it is so. Example: "Nu, bo vono tak i ye.", "This is the way it is." In this instance the word bo is unusual for the common Ukrainian language. It was first coined by the priest Joseph Levytsky in the foreword of his Hramatyka (1831).
On the origins of the Boyko there are two opposing views. Boykos, Lemkos, Hutsuls, and Polish-Slovak Gorals live in an area that was known as White Serbia and White Croatia, their folk costumes as well as music, show strong similarities to the South Slavs (Serbs, Croats, Bulgars). White Serbia adjacent to White Croatia is called Bojka (Serbian: Белa Србиja; Archaic: Бојка, Greek: Boiki), it's the mythical homeland of the ancestors of the Serbs, of the White Serbs (Serbian: Бели Срби, Beli Srbi). One view proposed by Soviet scholars considers the Boykos an autochthonous population with specific language and dialectal features, of which their use of bo ye meaning "yes" is a prominent example (hypothesis of I. Verkhratsky). An older view proposed by the 19th century authors I. Vahylevych, Ya. Holovatsky, and P. Šafárik links the Boyos to the Celtic Boii, a tribe unattested since the beginning of the Christian Era.
Most Boykos belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, with a minority belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The distinctive wooden church architecture of the Boyko region is a three-domed church, with the domes arranged in one line, and the middle dome slightly larger than the others.
See also 
- http://2001.ukrcensus.gov.ua/results/nationality_population/nationality_popul2/select_5/?botton=cens_db&box=5.5W&k_t=00&p=0&rz=1_1&rz_b=2_1 &n_page=1
- Nikitin, AG; Kochkin IT, June CM, Willis CM, McBain I, Videiko MY (February 2009). "Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation in Boyko, Hutsul and Lemko populations of Carpathian highlands.". Human Biology 81 (1): 43–58. doi:10.3378/027.081.0104. ISSN 0018-7143. OCLC 432539982. PMID 19589018. "MtDNA haplogroup frequencies in Boykos were different from most modern European populations."
- Anatoliy Ponomariov. "Ethnic groups of Ukrainians" (in Ukrainian). Available online.
- "How Rusyns became Ukrainians", Zerkalo Nedeli (the Mirror Weekly), July, 2005. Available online http://www.zerkalo-nedeli.com/ie/show/555/50610/ in Russian and http://www.zn.kiev.ua/ie/show/555/50610/ in Ukrainian.
- Short photo essay about contemporary Boiko life.