SFDH Logo (tiny)

The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

Horo Derivations
By Micharl Kuharski

[ Home | About | Encyclopedia |
| Publications | Members ]


Michael Kuharski


Horon comes from the word "horom" which refers to a line of six or seven corn stalks tied together to form a lattice. From a distance it appears like a line of people joining hands with their arms raised.


This is a delightful derivation, attractively reminiscent of the recent discussion of the imagery of the Bulgarian term "lesa" ("wattle") for a belt-hold line-dance. However, in consideration of the striking similarity of "horon" both in sound and meaning to the large family of hellenic-descended generic terms for dance, including at least:

horos    – Greek
chorus  – English
horo     – Bulgarian
hora     – Romanian, Turkish, modern Hebrew
ora       – Vlach
oro       – Macedonian

The location of the Laz on the Black Sea with its historically ubiquitous hellenic settlements and commerce, and

The alternate form "horan" – "A Turkish-English Dictionary (2nd Ed.)" by H.C. Hony, page 146,

One must seriously consider the possibility that the corn-stalk-lattice derivation is what linguists term "folk etymology" (a kind of folklore in which people make creative use of limited linguistic resources to explain the origin of words or names) and that "horon" belongs in the above word family as well.

Michael Kuharski


Used with permission of the author.
This page © 2018 by Ron Houston.
Please do not copy any part of this page without including this copyright notice.
Please do not copy small portions out of context.
Please do not copy large portions without permission from Ron Houston.