Slovenes in Somogy
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In the 17th and 18th century numerous Slovene families from Vas County settled down in Somogy County. According to research, there were 16 Slovene settlements in three country districts (Csurgó, Nagyatád, Marcali). The Slovenes came to Somogy County from what is now known as Prekmurje in two waves: the first was caused by Ottoman attacks around 1600 and the second took place in the 18th century, when they escaped persecution of their Protestant faith. In most cases, the Slovenes who immigrated to Somogy gradually became assimilated into the local Hungarian surroundings. Today, only a few indications that evoke the historic presence of Slovenes in Somogy County still exist. Among them, the most evident is the local cuisine.
The other most relevant reminiscence of Slovene presence is the wedding custom in Tarany, where the figure of the guest caller at weddings, still present in the local traditions of the Slovenes from the Rába and those from the Prekmurje region in Slovenia, has been maintained. Both in Tarany and in the Rába Region the guest caller is dressed in a robe decorated with knitting. In addition, he carries a stick with a hedgehog fur wrapped round its bottom. The customs at the deathbed, the vigile and funerals are also similar. Furthermore, the descendants of the Slovenes in Somogy do not observe the typical Hungarian Easter Monday custom, in which men and boys douse women and girls with Eau de Cologne, otherwise typical in the region.
Whereas the Slovenes from the Rába Region still maintain their language and culture, the consciousness of the inhabitants of Tarany about their ancestors is in constant decrease. In the 2001 Hungarian census, just 44 people declared themselves Slovene in the Somogy County.
- Mária Mukics: Changing World - The Hungarian Slovenes (Változó Világ - A magyarországi szlovének) Press Publica