The Hostat at Cluj-Napoca

Welcome on our website!

Motto: “The older the traditions of a community, the more solid its presence and the greater its chance for survival.”

Laszlo Pillich

The website entitled was created and is continuously renewed according to the idea and draft of Istvan Zagoni Szabo.

It is my pleasure to welcome, in the name of my family too, everybody who visits our website.

1.What was the aim of creating this website?

My parents have been deeply conscious of their Hungarian nationality ever since their childhood. My father was born at Cluj and my mother at Cojocna, they grew up, married and had children during the Romanian Communist era, and they never forgot about their belonging to the Hungarian minority. Being proud of their roots and origin, and growing up as members of the community known as “Hostat from Cluj”, they felt obliged to “save” for the posterity all those treasures what they inherited from their parents and grandparents, and they learned to cherish the traditions what were passed down to them. On our website we want to present you everything what has something to do with this community: traditions, folk music, national costumes, literature, pop music, personal memories and historical documents. Naturally, not only the Hungarians from Cluj of Hostat origin, but EVERYBODY without fail is welcome, if he or she wants to learn something about us.

2.Who belong to the community of the Hostat from Cluj?

The outskirts of the city, originally the territory beyond the walls surrounding the historical town of Cluj (Hungarian name Kolozsvar, German name Klausenburg) were called the Hostats. The inhabitants of the Hostats lived on agriculture, animal husbandry and transportation, in a village-like society, and were called Hostati (from the Hostat) by the townspeople.

After the16.century the members of this community, still living beyond the walls of the town, were all Hungarians and Calvinists. They were entitled for self administration both on social and on church level. Step by step they turned towards growing vegetables they were the ones who brought good quality products to the markets of the town.

They were also called the heyducks of Bocskay. According to some historical resources they were brought in by this sovereign, who, by settling them around the town modified the characteristics of the community of the townspeople, who originally were of Hungarian and of Saxon origin and mostly Unitarians. But the truth is that no authentic historical document was found so far, therefore the Hostati’s strong belief in their being settled by Bocskay can not be proven historically.

3.What does it mean to me to be from Cluj, more closely to be a Hostati?

Naturally it is very difficult to write or talk objectively about our roots and our origin. Therefore I am asking for your permission to let me share with you some of my most cherished memories and like this offer you a glimpse into the world of the Hostat from Cluj through “my own open window”.

The first and most important thing what comes into my mind when thinking of the Hostat is love. Let me introduce you my parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Although these are personal memories of my own family, still they are characteristic of the whole community and like this, by reading them, those who have never heard about the Hostat will be able to get a good description of it. The personality of my grandparents, their way of being and living was more or less characteristic of their whole generation, of their friends, their relatives and even of their descendants. For my grandparents the most important thing in their life was love. They loved each other and they brought up their children and grandchildren in this loving atmosphere. They loved their work and their animals, their God and their church. They wanted their children to be independent, but they never stopped watching them from the background and they were always ready to help them when they needed help. Their work was almost a holy activity to them, they were very much concerned with their animals, whose feeding in the dawn and in the evening always preceded the family’s breakfast or dinner.

They followed the growth of their plants with great care from the moment the seed was sowed until harvest. They seemed to caress the young seedlings with their ever-working hands. My imagination brings back to me the figure of my grandmother standing in the garden, in her very characteristic way, her arms akimbo, looking with great delight to the result of her hard work. This was their life, the great feeling of being always useful, and this has not changed ever since. They were characterized by enormous capacity of work and by unbelievable diligence. They loved and respected nature, the rhythm of their life and their work, done in a nice, orderly way, followed the changes brought about by the four seasons and they managed to create a warm, safe nest for their children and grandchildren.

The aim of their life was to please their customers at the marketplace, always displaying fruits and vegetables of the best quality for those inhabitants of the city, who were living in blocks of flats and did not enjoy the advantages offered by a garden.

Both my parents and my grandparents lived according to high moral standards, I could rightly call them absolute perfectionists not only at work but at all the other domains of life.

Last but not at all least I would like to mention their belief in God. The members of the Hostat community are deeply religious people, they go to church regularly. This is something I also kept alive in my family life. They pray and teach their children to pray and prove their Christianity by deeds. They stick to their traditions and are always ready to help one another if any member of the community gets into difficulty. Their strong faith makes them bold enough to be able to accept good and bad luck with the same calmness. I shall never forget that morning in my childhood, when a hail destroyed everything in our garden: the trees in full blossom, as it happened in May, the seedbeds full of lusty seedlings, the beautiful tulips of the flower garden… it lasted just for some minutes but it spoiled the result of the hard work done during the spring months. The garden was lying under a thick blanket of hailstones.

We could rarely see our grandfather crying, but then he cried. Not my grandmother. She was a very strong and determined woman. She just said: “God gave it, God took it away. He surely will give it again.” And she was right. In some weeks time the seedlings what they planted again were just as beautiful as the previous ones.

Perhaps the most precious thing what my ancestors left to me is the love of life and the maintenance of my Hungarian consciousness even in a “foreign” environment.

This short recollection of some of my memories is far from being a complete presentation of the Hostat or of the people belonging to this community. I just thought it important to bring the readers closer to them. With the help of my family and of our readers we certainly will go on describing the life of the Hostati from Cluj.


With love: Eva Zagoni Szabo
6 November 2009