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Also known as: Beás, Băieşi, Banyash, Bunyash, Boyash, Banjaš, Bajaš, Lingurara, Gurbetsi (in Greece), Moeso-Romanians
Etymological note: "Beash" < Banyaš, is a direct translation of "Rudar" (Latin Bany~ = Slavic Rud~ = "ore" + suffix indicating an occupation ~ar = ~aš)
A Romanian-speaking people (whose dialect is that of the eastern Banat and areas south of the Danube) who are often lumped together with Rroms, being regarded as "Gypsies" by the urban people of central Europe, although they are unconnected with them. Neither the Beás nor the Rroms accept this confusion of identity (the Beás call the Rroms lăcătàri). The Beás are most numerous in Romania (almost half a million are identifiable there although the majority have been absorbed into the local population), then in Hungary (where they number around 20,000) and tens of thousands more are scattered throughout Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Bulgaria (particularly the Varna district) and even Greece (especially around Athens). A substantial group migrated to Colombia, settling near Cali. The Beás have never had a mobile lifestyle. It is in Serbia that ancient practices (trances, demonology and magic) associated with this community are still most in evidence, while in southern Romania they celebrate a type of potlatch [gift-giving festival], known as Gurban, on 23 April. Their origin is still unknown but the most likely theory seems to be that of descent from a dark-skinned people native to Upper Moesia (now southern Serbia), who adopted the Latin tongue along with the rest of the Balkan population and were eventually in great part scattered, maybe when the Serbs arrived in the 7th century or maybe much later. This is the reason of the name “Moseo-Romans” which is sometimes applied to them. Research into their history is heavily discouraged by the powers that be because it raises issues that are extremely sensitive for certain states in the region and it is unlikely that this will change in the near future. The potential gains which could arise from this research for the Beás-Rudari and society as a whole are relatively modest and do not justify re-opening what could be political can of worms. They are overtly ostracised and in Romania are among the most under-developed sections of the population, along with certain Moldovan and Rromani groups. Their situation in other countries gives equal cause for concern even though some of their leaders have made good careers for themselves, in many cases under the guise of Rroms (except in Bulgaria where they are open about their identity).
Croatian Bajaši are all living in the Međimurje area (near Čakovec/Csaktornya) most of them in quite indigent conditions; their elders tell they were formerly Slaves of the Serbs in "Serbian Baia Mare" (the area of Negotin, Zaječar, Bor, Majdanpek), from where they escaped and lived a long time in forest making wooden handicrafts but one has to be careful since this story could be inspired by external accounts and not family tradition. Although everybody know their do not share the same origin, language, culture and identity as the Rroms, they are forced into a common political category with them by Croatian authorities. In Hungary as well, they have been the object of ethno-political manipulation designed to justify various types of ideology, projects and schemes directed towards either the Rroms or Romanians. It is also in Hungary, however, that they seem to have made most progress in seeking political recognition. There are several folklore books about them but they have neither literature nor art of their own, apart from the work of certain naïve, so-called "Gypsy painters" in Hungary. That said, a remarkable translation from Hungarian into Beás of Sándor Petőfi's epic János the Hero was published in Pécs in 2001.
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