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History and culture

The Ocland commune is located in the eastern part of the historic Transylvania, which until 1920 belonged to the Hungarian state. Up to this day, virtually all the inhabitants of the region are Hungarians. Ocland lies on the southern border of the so-called Székely Land (Székelyföld), south of the village the historical Saxon land begins. The Székelys were free from serfdom social group that defended the eastern borders of the Kingdom of Hungary. The Székelys themselves are still convinced that  that they are descendants of king of the Huns - Attila. His younger son Csaba is said to have wandered from Pannonia to Transylvania after the father’s death. According to local legend, among the ruins of the Kustaly castle near Ocland, there is the grave of Attila’s beloved wife, named Rika or Réka.

In 1541 the Kingdom of Hungary broke up into three parts: the western occupied by the Habsburgs, the central part taken by the Turkish empire and the eastern part including Transylvania and part of the Hungarian Plain where  relatively independent Principality of Transylvania was established. Among  its rulers was, king of Poland, Stefan Batory. At the end of the seventeenth century the whole of Hungary - including Transylvania - came under the Habsburg rule. The most important of numerous anti-Habsburg uprisings was the one in Transylvania during the European Revolutions of 1848, known as Spring of Nations, where General Józef Bem fought.

The Ocland village was the centre of the district until 1920. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century Ocland was in its heyday. Yet, after annexation of Transylvania to Romania, there was a period of decline. The Székelys were especially oppressed during the communist dictatorship, and their villages were neglected or even torn down. After the political change the residents of the commune are trying to revitalise the most important buildings with the help of activities of organisations and individuals in Hungary. The examples include the renovation of medicinal baths Dungó and revitalisation of chestnut plantations.

Transylvanian cuisine combines Hungarian and Balkan elements. Distinctive dishes include stuffed cabbage made from pickled cabbage leaves (töltött káposzta), scalloped corn grits with mountain cheese (puliszka), cream of aubergine, pie baked on a pole (kürtős kalács).

Home-made vodka and fruit liqueurs (Pálinka) are highly popular. The best of them is blueberry tincture (kukujzapálinka). Transylvania is also famous for its beekeeping.

The Székelys constitute a separate ethnic group which, in terms of dress, customs, and even the humour, is a bit like Polish people living in the mountains. They speak the Hungarian dialect. The Székelys are proud of their lively and authentic tradition which helped them to retain their identity despite the fact that they do not belong to the Hungarian state for nearly a hundred years now.

Various regional crafts are still made here: embroidery, bead jewellery making, painting furniture. There is also a youth dance group in the commune.

These traditions are not secondary, revived after many years but they have retained their continuity and authenticity.

 

The annual regional events:
In the commune:
in May: Festival of Daffodils
in July: Meeting of Brass Bands
In the area:


Odorheiu Secuiesc: Folklore Festival "Sheikh" - in June, Miercurea Ciuc: Craftsmen's Fair – in July, Praid: Festival of Stuffed Cabbage - in September, Varşag - Raspberry Festival - in August, Corund: Pottery Fair – on the 1st Saturday in August.


On Whitsunday at the Basilica of St. Mary in Şumuleu Ciuc (Hung. ​​Csíksomlyó, now part of the city Miercurea Ciuc), the most important place of pilgrimage of the Hungarians, St. Mary’s celebrations are held together with vigil. The importance of this church celebration is comparable with the one of the Assumption held in Częstochowa, in Poland.

 

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