Monday, 5 July 2010

Székely Family

Here's a drawing I did for my father's birthday last week, of a girl listening to her father read her a story. I used to love my father reading Hungarian folktales from a big book we had of them. They were in Hungarian, so he would translate them into English as he read, and I liked the slightly stilted way it came out.

I was trying to stay in the sort of Hungarian folk style that I used for this drawing, but this time I made them Székely, because my father's father came from a Székely family. The Székely (pronounced Say-kay) are a subgroup of Hungarians, who mostly live in Transylvania. One of their most distinctive folk-crafts are their beautiful carved and painted wooden gates

I took this photo in Transylvania a couple of years ago. The gates are set into a wall that runs along the street, and they open into the yard of the house. The gates always have a door in the side for people, and a larger gate for big things like horses and carts, and they have a little shingled roof on the top. Usually the family's name is carved into the gate, and also other decorations, and sometimes the carvings are painted too.
Here's another gate, from a collection at the Mikó Castle in Csíkszereda (Miercurea-Ciuc to give it its Romanian name).. Above the main gate, you can see the sun and moon cut-outs, which are Székely symbols, and originally represented pre-Christian Hungarian gods, although since the 11th century (when Hungary became Christian) they have become purely decorative.


  1. Hello Piroska,
    Thanks for sharing that charming drawing. You are quite an artist! You should consider sharing more of your drawings with us.

    And those wooden carved gates are so beautiful! What an intriguing Szekely folk craft. I love the history...

  2. Just got to read your blog. Since I am born and raised in Hungary (currently living in the Netherlands) I know it's hard to place the apostrophes in the right way (my boyfriend keeps stuggeling wiht my birthplace called Székesfehérvár). Anyway, the right way is 'székely', with the apostrophe placed on the first e.

  3. Thank you Dóra, for pointing out that mistake! All fixed now.