Wednesday, June 21, 2006

You Might Be Rusyn and Not Even Know It!

I'm half-Rusyn, but it took me a couple of decades to figure that out. How can you tell? Here are a few signs to look for. You might be a Rusyn if:
  • you're of Eastern European origin, but fuzzy on the specifics
  • records for your family provide a hodgepodge of ethnic/geographical references, including any or all of the following -- Austrian, Hungarian, Austro-Hungarian, Ukrainian, Polish, Slovak, Ruthenian (a big giveaway), Galician, Lemko, etc.
  • anyone in your family was or is Greek Catholic, Byzantine Catholic, or Carpatho-Russian Orthodox
  • you celebrate (or used to celebrate) the Eastern Christmas and/or Easter (slightly later than the Western ones)
  • your parents or grandparents used to lapse into a strange-sounding language when they wanted to discuss something privately while in front of others
  • you have weird family traditions, including dressing up and going from door to door at Christmas time scaring the kids (see below) -- or throwing water on the girls at Easter
  • your idea of dancing strongly resembles wrestling, skipping or a combination of both
  • you're partial to foods with poppy seeds


If any of this resonates with you, be sure to check out Greg Gressa's Carpatho-Rusyn Knowledge Base. It might just bring an end to your identity crisis.

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