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Hora is a type of circle dance
Circle dance
"Circle dance" is the most common name for a style of traditional dance usually done in a circle without partners to musical accompaniment.-Description:...

 originating in the Balkans but also found in other countries. The name (spelled differently in different countries) is cognate to the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 χορός : 'dance' which is cognate with the ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 art form of χορεία; see Chorea
Chorea (dance)
Choreia is a circle dance accompanied by singing , in ancient Greece. Homer refers to this dance in his epic poem, the Iliad....

. The original meaning of the Greek word χορός may have been 'circle'. Also the word is present in Slavic languages and "hora" and "oro" are found in many Slavic languages and have the meaning of round (dance) and the verb 'oriti' means to speak, sound, sing which previously meant to celebrate.

The Greek χορός is cognate with Bulgarian хоро 'horo', Serbian коло 'kolo', Croatian/Bosnian/Montenegrin 'kolo
Kolo (dance)
Kolo , is a collective folk dance, danced primarily by people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. It is performed amongst groups of people holding each other's having their hands around each other's waists...

', Macedonian/Montenegrin 'oro', the Turkish form 'hora', 'valle' in Albania and Romanian 'horǎ'.

Hora in Romania and Moldova

Hora (pl. hore) is a traditional Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n folk dance
Folk dance
The term folk dance describes dances that share some or all of the following attributes:*They are dances performed at social functions by people with little or no professional training, often to traditional music or music based on traditional music....

 that gathers everyone into a big closed circle. The dancers hold each other's hands and the circle spins, usually counterclockwise, as each participant follows a sequence of three steps forward and one step back. The dance is usually accompanied by musical instruments such as the cymbalum
The cimbalom is a concert hammered dulcimer: a type of chordophone composed of a large, trapezoidal box with metal strings stretched across its top...

, accordion
The accordion is a box-shaped musical instrument of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone family, sometimes referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist....

, violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

, viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

, double bass
Double bass
The double bass, also called the string bass, upright bass, standup bass or contrabass, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra, with strings usually tuned to E1, A1, D2 and G2...

, saxophone
The saxophone is a conical-bore transposing musical instrument that is a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846...

, trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

 or even the panflute.

The Hora is popular during wedding celebrations and festivals, and is an essential part of the social entertainment in rural areas. One of the most famous hore is the Hora Unirii (Hora of the Union), which became a Romanian patriotic song as a result of being the hymn when Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

 and Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

 united to form the Principality of Romania in 1859. During the 2006/2007 New Year's Eve celebration, when Romania and Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 joined the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, people were dancing Hora Bucuriei
Hora Bucuriei
Hora Bucuriei is a performed by Romanian pop artist Loredana in the Revolution Square of Bucharest, Romania’s capital, during the first seconds of the 2007 New Year's Eve while people danced the Hora, a traditional Romania folk dance, to celebrate the admission of Romania and Bulgaria as new...

(Hora of Joy) over the boulevards of Bucharest
Bucharest is the capital municipality, cultural, industrial, and financial centre of Romania. It is the largest city in Romania, located in the southeast of the country, at , and lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River....

 as a tribute to the EU anthem, Ode to Joy
Ode to Joy
"Ode to Joy" is an ode written in 1785 by the German poet, playwright and historian Friedrich Schiller, enthusiastically celebrating the brotherhood and unity of all mankind...

 (Odă bucuriei). Some of the biggest hora circles can be found on early 20th century movies filmed by the Manakis brothers in Pindus
The Pindus mountain range is located in northern Greece and southern Albania. It is roughly 160 km long, with a maximum elevation of 2637 m . Because it runs along the border of Thessaly and Epirus, the Pindus range is often called the "spine of Greece"...

, Greece and performed by local Aromanians
Aromanians are a Latin people native throughout the southern Balkans, especially in northern Greece, Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and as an emigrant community in Serbia and Romania . An older term is Macedo-Romanians...


  • Periniţa
    Periniţa or Perniţa is a wedding party folk dance, typical of and deriving from Romania and Moldova.The dancers are arranged in a circle and dance, e.g., Joc. A person with a handkerchief or pillow dances inside a circle, then chooses a person of an opposite sex by placing the handkerchief around...

Hora in Bulgaria

The traditional Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

n dance horo  comes in many shapes. It is not necessary to be in a circle, a curving line of people is also acceptable. The steps used in a horo dance are extremely diverse and not just two or three steps forward and one step back. The horo may vary between three to seven or eight steps forward and one to five or six steps back depending on the specific type.

There are more than five types of horo that are usually danced at every wedding. They differ by the rhythm of the music and the steps taken. There are no two horo dances with similar steps. There are probably over one hundred types of horo dances in the Bulgarian folklore.

In the past, the horo dance had a social role in Bulgarian society. It was mainly for fun, as a contest of skills, or for the show, leading to the development of the variety of horo dances. There are hora for people with little skill that can be learned in five to ten minutes, but there are also very sophisticated dances that cannot be learned unless one is fluent in many of the simpler dances.

Oro in Macedonia

The Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

 uses the Cyrillic spelling of "oro" (Cyrillic: Opo). The origins of Macedonian oro vary from its use in socializing and celebrating, to historical dancing before going into battle. "TESHKOTO", translated "The difficult one", is one of those, danced by men only, and the music of which reflects the sorrow and mood of war. Oro in Macedonia reflects past hardships that Macedonians endured through melody, lyrics and movements. Today, oro is danced in a circle, with men and women holding one another by hand. They are used to celebrate present happy occasions, such as weddings, christenings, name-days, national and religious holidays, graduations, birthdays.

Oro in Montenegro

A similar dance, the Oro (Cyrillic: Opo), is popular in Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

. It starts with participants dancing in circles to a gusle
The Gusle is a single-stringed musical instrument traditionally used in the Dinarides region of the Balkans ....

, and ends with dancers standing on other dancers' shoulders and a toast from the head of the household. People consider it to be an "eagle-dance" (in Montenegrin vernaculars usual pronunciation for Montenegrin orao "eagle" is oro), since the two dancers within the circle jump while flapping their arms upward and shouting. Oro is considered the dance of the brave ones and danced mostly by men.

Gypsy oro

The Oro is also popular among the Roma people of Eastern Europe, and the dancing is practically the same as the one of the neighbouring ethnicities. Gypsy oros, and Romani music in general, are very well appreciated among non-gypsies in the Balkans .

The Hora in Klezmer music

The Hora in klezmer
Klezmer is a musical tradition of the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe. Played by professional musicians called klezmorim, the genre originally consisted largely of dance tunes and instrumental display pieces for weddings and other celebrations...

 music is the same as the traditional Romanian dance. It has a slow, limping gait in 3/8 time and often leads into a faster and more upbeat freylekh or bulgar.http://borzykowski.users.ch/EnglMCKlezmer.htm

Jewish Hora

The hora (הורה), which is somewhat different from that of some of the Eastern European countries, is widespread in the Jewish diaspora
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

 and played a foundational role in modern Israeli folk dancing
Israeli folk dancing
Israeli folk dancing is a form of dance usually performed to music from Israel, with dances choreographed for specific songs. Most Israeli dances are performed in a circle, although there are also partner dances and line dances.-History and description:...

. It was brought to Israel by the Romanian settlers in the second half of the 19th century and became the symbol of the reconstruction of the country by the socialistic-agricultural Zionist movement.

It is usually performed to Israeli folk songs, and sometimes to Jewish songs, typically to the music of Hava Nagila
Hava Nagila
"Hava Nagila" is a Hebrew folk song that has become a staple of band performers at Jewish weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.-History:...


To start the dance, everybody forms a circle, holding hands, and steps forward toward the right with the left foot, then follows with the right foot. The left foot is then brought back, followed by the right foot. This is done while holding hands and circling together in a fast and cheerful motion to the right. Large groups allow for the creation of several concentric
Concentric objects share the same center, axis or origin with one inside the other. Circles, tubes, cylindrical shafts, disks, and spheres may be concentric to one another...


In the early days, Hora was popular mainly in the Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

im and small communities. Later it became a must in group dances throughout Israel, and at weddings and other celebrations by Jews in Israel, the United States and Canada. The dance appeared in North America in the early 20th century, well before modern Israeli independence, brought directly from Eastern Europe by Jewish immigrants.

At bar and bat mitzvahs, it is customary to raise the honoree and his or her family members on a chair during the hora. This is also done nowadays at many Jewish weddings, following the Israeli tradition.

The song Hora
Hora (song)
"Hora" was the Israeli entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1982, performed in Hebrew by Avi Toledano....

, sung by Avi Toledano
Avi Toledano
Born in Meknes in Morocco April 4, 1948, Avraham Toledano is known to European audiences for his involvement with the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1982 he represented Israel in Harrogate, UK with the uptempo revivalist number Hora...

, who represented Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 in the Eurovision Song Contest 1982
Eurovision Song Contest 1982
The Eurovision Song Contest 1982 was the 27th Eurovision Song Contest and was held on 24 April 1982 in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom. The presenter was Jan Leeming. The opening of the contest showed a map of Europe, with the translation "Where is Harrogate?" popping up on-screen from...

, is based on this dance.

See also

  • Circle dance
    Circle dance
    "Circle dance" is the most common name for a style of traditional dance usually done in a circle without partners to musical accompaniment.-Description:...

  • Greek dances
    Greek dances
    Greek dance is a very old tradition, being referred to by authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch and Lucian. There are different styles and interpretations from all of the islands and surrounding mainland areas. Each region formed its own choreography and style to fit in with their own ways...

  • Round dance
    Round dance
    There are two distinct dance categories called round dance. The specific dances belonging to the first of these categories are often considered to be ethnic, folk or country dances...

  • Bulgarian dances
    Bulgarian dances
    Bulgarian folk dances are intimately related to the music of Bulgaria. This distinctive feature of Balkan folk music is the asymmetrical meter, built up around various combinations of 'quick' and 'slow' beats...

    , details for specific Bulgarian folk dances
  • Dabke
    Dabke is an Arab folk dance. It is popular in several Arab countries such as Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria,and Iraq. A line dance, it is widely performed at weddings and joyous occasions...

    , a Middle Eastern line dance
  • Halay
    Halay or Yalli is a popular dance in the Middle East....

    , a Middle Eastern dance
  • Hasapiko
    The Hasapiko , is a Greek folk dance from Constantinople. The dance originated in the Middle Ages as a battle mime with swords performed by the Greek butchers guild, which adopted it from the military of Byzantine era. In Constantinople during the Byzantine times, it was called in Greek...

    , a Greek folk dance
  • Khorovod
    Khorovod is a Slavic art form, a combination of a circle dance and chorus singing, similar to Chorea of ancient Greece.- External links :*...

    , an Eastern European circle dance
  • Kolo
    Kolo (dance)
    Kolo , is a collective folk dance, danced primarily by people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. It is performed amongst groups of people holding each other's having their hands around each other's waists...

    , Croatian and Bosnian circle dance
  • Adana
    Adana (dance)
    Adana is a traditional Macedonian Oro, folk dance, from the town of Veles.It is a man dance with medium fast movements. The dance in the beginning is danced with balancing and later when it in becomes faster is danced with jumping, kneeling down and turning around...

    , a Macedonian oro
  • Tresenica
    Tresenica or Shaking dance in English is a Macedonian oro from the region of Mariovo.It is a typical women's dance with steady and proud movements and careful balance of the body. The dancers hold hands and begin their dance in semicircle. The dance rhythm is 2/4 and there are four versions of the...

    , a Macedonian oro performed by women
  • Valle e Rugoves

External links