Ethnographic research (2012)
It is not commonly known today that, until the end of the 1800s, isolated Islamic communities existed in Hungary which had managed to keep their religion and customs intact since the years of the Turkish Oppression. This fact might have been completely forgotten, but ethnographic research in the last few years has revealed amazing discoveries that shed light on this aspect of Hungarian folk history. A few old photographs have been discovered, as well as an ornate head covering (since restored), which provide evidence for this religious-ethnographic mingling of people. Conflicts between the Islamic groups and the Hungarian lowland farmers were common, in which the Hungarians were often defeated. In smaller villages where Hungarian inhabitants were in the minority during those decades the phenomenon of “reciprocal assimilation” occured, as a result of which the Hungarians – either out of fear, or simply over time – adapted to the customs and religion of the Turkish inhabitants.This could often be recognized in the dress and fashions of the people. It can be seen that
Turkish customs started to influence Hungarian folk costume design, the most remarkable example of which is the head covering, as an accessory to the folk costume itself. It represents an interesting blend of Hungarian and Turkish traditions of dress, enriched by some new characteristics different from either culture. For example, the majority of Turkish women did not cover their faces at this time, and therefore it is worth asking why the Hungarian ‘burka’ covers the whole surface of the face. The issue is also interesting from a linguistic point of view, as it is easy to tell that the Hungarian word ‘burok’ (meaning: ‘hull’) – just like many other words in the Hungarian vocabulary – originates from Turkish, and is etymologically linked to the word ‘burka’.