Bucovina: Irozii, Bumbierii, Hurta

Paduretu celor MICI de pe DELENI 2011-2012

In Bucovina the groups of boys, known as ceată, perform dances for the New Year customs. These customs do not include performances by masked characters or folk plays. This lack of other elements, rituals or characters, is similar to the situation with the Transylvanian Călușeri custom. The wider family of Northern Moldavian Ceată dances are performed within both the local New Year customs (Irozii, Jieni, Bumbierii) and local social repertoire.


The Irozii (the Herods) tradition is a group of boys, ceată, who go house-to-house at New Year. Irozii are a common character in customs throughout Romania, often associated with the dialogue in Christmas theatre, but they are also the term for one of the ceată dancing groups in Moldavia. In Suceava county, west of the Suceava river and predominantly before the mountain zone, these groups of Irozii typically perform the men’s group dance Pădurețul, sometimes followed by Trilișești or the chain dance Arcanul.

Giurchescu classifies Pădurețul and Trilișești as “North Moldavian corps” and Țânțăroiul and Trileșești as “Carpathian Springing Dances” indicating the connection between these men’s dances and the shepherd’s dances straddling the Carpathians.[1]

Bumbierii or Bungherii

Bumbieri Vama

This tradition is restricted to the Câmpulung Moldovenesc area between Sadova and Vama. Although the tradition is associated with Bucovina and possibly with the local Irozii groups it is interesting that the dancing consists of combinations of jumps and heel spur clicks in a ceată formation, similar to the custom dances notated by Giurchescu[2] and Bușan[3] in the eastern and southern Transylvanian Carpathians. Giurchescu noted the connection between these communities though shepherding, also the similarity to dances in the Mărginimea Sibiului Călușeri repetoire is noticeable.

The name Bumbierii or Bungherii comes from the belts which have hundreds of brass buttons (in Romanian bumbi, or the popular term bunghi) and are wrapped three or four times around the waist and diagonally over the shoulders.[4] The costumes imitate (are a parody of) those of the Austrian generals during the Habsburg period[5] with spectacular tinsel ornaments, strings, fringes, belts worn diagonally with bells, beads, sequins and brass buttons.[6]

Bumbieri 2019(4)

Locally it is said that Bunghereasca dates from the period of the Austro-Hungarian occupation in Bucovina, however, there is also the opinion that the custom was invented by a resident of Câmpulung Moldovenesc after 1850. It seems that at the beginning of the twentieth century there was a connection between the Bumbierii and the Irozi groups but the latter have disappeared today in this region.[6]

The ceata consists of boys from the aged 8 until marriage[6] and consists of 4-10 boys (usually even numbers).[5] They march through the village in a “military” formation in rows, and when they are invited they enter courtyards the activities are similar to “Arcan” which found elsewhere in Bucovina.[5] They perform only in the courtyards of wealthy households, institutions and on stage due to the larger number of members of the group requiring appropriate rewards. The dancing can be accompanied by music if there is money to pay musicians, or without musical accompaniment and to the rhythm of the shouts.[6]

The dances are first Bunghereasca in a circle, then Turbina in which the dancers follow in line around the circle, pintenii which is similar to Bunghereasca but has jumps with spur and heel clicks, followed by papanașii which is just beating of the spurs. Characters including the “gypsy”, the “goat” and “bear” accompany the Bumbierii.[6]

Hurta from Bosanci

Hurta (Împaratii) de la Bosanci. 31.12.2016

The Hurta tradition in the village of Bosanci, near Suceava in Bucovina, is a house-to-house tradition for a team of Împărații (Emperors). The tradition is maybe 150 years old or more and is a parody of the Austrian military as a form of resistance against the Austrian rulers. The costume has a coat of richly embroidered sleeves from a women’s shirt and across the chest are many straps which are covered by shiny metal buttons. The Hurta hats are made of coloured feathers, green for “Emperors”, orange for “Ministers” and black for “Generals”. They are never masked, they are the “beautiful” among the New Year’s characters.[7]

Choreographic form, motifs, and music

type names formation structure motifs music
Irozii Pădurețul, Trilișești circle walking in circle, figures syncopation, stamps,  hops, spur-clicks 2/4
Bumbierii Bunghereasca circle walking in circle, figures syncopation, stamps,  hops, spur-clicks 2/4
Hurta circle walking in circle, figures, figures in pairs step-hop, hops, sword-clashing 2/4


  1. Giurchescu, Anca & Bloland, Sunni (1995). Romanian traditional dance : A contextual and structural approach. Mill Valley, California: Wild Flower Press.
  2. Giurchescu, Anca (1963). Jocurile ciobănești din satul Dumbrava. Revista de Folclor, Anul 8 nr 3-4, pages 60-73.
  3. Bucșan, Andrei (1971). Specificul Dansului Popular Românesc. Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România.
  4. Cojocaru, Nicolae (1989). Datini de Iarnă din zona Câmpulungului Moldovenesc. Revista de Etnografie şi Folclor, Tomul 34 nr 4, 34, pages 327-328.
  5. Ionescu, Lucian (2019). Bunghereasca de la Capu Satului (Câmpulung Moldovenesc, Bucovina, Romania). YouTube. Online https://youtu.be/4x560oiJ58Q
  6. Băncescu, Iuliana (2018). Obiceiuri de iarnă din Moldova [Online]. Available: https://patrimoniu.ro/patrimoniu-imaterial/obiceiuri-de-iarna-din-moldova.
  7. carmensolo (2021). Hurta ("Imparatii") sarbatoarea de la cumpana dintre ani din Bosanci, Bucovina, promovata in comunitatea romaneasca din Belgia [Online]. Available: http://www.rombel.com/index.php/31-topstiri/56891-hurta-imparatii-sarb
Published on 12th July 2022