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The “Borica” dance

The “Borica” dance from the Seven Villages is an archaic man dance.

Today it is practiced only in Tatrang (Tărlungeni), Zajzon (Zizin),  Pürkerec (Purcăreni).


Wild trampling on the beaten snow. Many screams, purple flames. Deep black shadows in the twilight. Scary masks: eagle feathers, horse hair and pig fangs. Swords are clashing. “One, two, three…Four are fighting life-and-death. The swords produce sparks. The bells are ringing. In the end, the weakest one collapses. “The devil is inside him!” And the swords cut the skin, meat, bones. Only death cleans the soul, body. The bells intensify. They evoke the creation power. Swords in scabbards: the whip time has come. Wild sound to banish the evil and to attract goodness here. New, powerful soul in the slaughtered one. The whip handle sticks the body together, heals the wounds and a last strong clap guides the soul in it. The divine miracle of resurrection. A new life is born, a new faith emerges, to which the evil no longer has access. The initiation was completed. The weak one became strong, the boy became a man. “He can mán (already)[1] run like the Csitkuó (foal)[2] from the plain!”

The pantomime dance of kuka (mute)[3] closes borica, the old hora of Csango men from Seven Villages. It is an initiation ritual, a magical activity, a sacral order. The symbol of Sun’s rebirth. The preparations and repetitions take place during the Advent, the period of Christmas waiting. In the past, in the winter solstice, borica was danced from house to house and the ritual was extended until the carnival before the Lent. The Council from Brașov, referring to the imperial order, forbidden borica on February 6th 1764, so this could be danced only secretly in the day of Small Saints (Aprószentek[4]). In 1861, ZajzoniRab István described it as a disappeared tradition but it exists nowadays, as proof that it was reborn.

The boys wear black or white cloth stockings and grey or black[5] szëttër (jersey)[6]. They wear sheepskin hats on their head, which were decorated with colored bows and feather grass. They have long boots in their feet, with spurs, bling and watch bells. They are holding in their hands a decorated csákány (pickax) or lapocka (shoulder blade)[7] on which they are waving a sajinka (silk scarf)[8].

Those who are dancing borica enter the yard in turns, in front being tebe[9], the boy holding the fir tree. Golden fruits hang from the fir tree. He is followed by two-three Rroma: one playing the flute, one playing the violin and a kobza player. After them, comes the group of borica dancers, in front of them are two vatáfi (bailiffs)[10]. They are followed by kuka (masked persons), who try by their game to keep the crowd at distance. At the end are those with baskets and nyáshordozuók (nyás bearers)[11], they carry with them the meat, eggs, sausage and bread received. If the house owner forgot in the yard a small tool and the masked person finds it, then he does not return it until he receives one Kreuzer from the host.

A big party is organized in the evening from the food and money collected. The dancers, guided by vatáfi (bailiffs) dance in the hora rotating to the right – left and consisting in the multiple repetition of themes (borica one, two, three and Turkish borica).


[1] Mán: already hsz.

[2] Csitkuó: foul noun[Animal].

[3] Kuka: masked person, mute character in borica noun [Holiday].

[4] Thus, put in between the festive games of Small Saints from the Szekler region, borica was danced secretly.

[5] The colors of the costume differed from village to village (Tărlungeni, Zizin, Purcăreni)

[6]Szëttër: jersey noun [Clothing].

[7] Csákány was a type of decorated stick, lapocka was a piece of decorated wood, similar to the wood used for beating the laundry when washing them.

[8]Sajinka: silk scarf noun [Clothing].

[9] Tebe: fire tree decorated with apples, bows, used for borica dance noun [Holiday].

[10] Vatáf: Bailiff. Leader in borica dance noun [Holiday].

[11] Nyáshordozuó: role in borica dance noun [Holiday].

Spiritual heritage


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