Who are Boykos?

Boykos is an ethnic group of Western Ukrainians living in northern and southern Carpathians, in the region called Boykivshchyna between the rivers Limnitsa and Teresva in the east to the Uzh and Sian in the west.

Boykos settled down in mountainous areas of the Ukrainian Carpathians and Subcarpathia region (Bolekhiv, Dolyna and Kalush districts and part of the Rozhnyativ district of Ivano-Frankivsk region, Skole, Turka, some parts of Stryi district, Drohobych, Sambir and Starosambir districts of Lviv region, Mizhhirskyi and some parts of Volovets districts of the Transcarpathian region).

Unlike Lemky or Hutsuly, Boykos is the most mysterious and least studied Ukrainian ethnos. Even nowadays there are disputes over the Boykos origin in scientific circles. Some researchers believe that Boykos have a Celtic origin from the “boii” tribe, which is related to militant Irish people, others believe that Boykos are descendants of the White Croats. Boykos often call themselves “verkhovyntsi” (Highlanders), “pidhoryany” (Lowlanders) or “horalʹtsi” (mountaineers). These people do everything their own unusual way. They speak Boykos dialect of the Ukrainian language and usually use particle ‘boyye’ meaning “so and in no other way”. Boykos churches resemble pagodas or East Asian temples rather than traditional Ukrainian churches.

They even have their own dance called “Bitlya”, which is a variation of kolomyika performed on a barrel.

But despite this, Boykos made a significant contribution in the history of the Ukrainian state being proud, creative, liberal, authentic, militant and independent ethnos.

Throughout the whole history of the Ukrainian Carpathians the names of some boykos terrified Ukraineʼs adversaries.

Among the famous Boykos are Zakhar Berkut, Petro-Konashevych-Sagaidachny, Marko Zhmayla, Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Franko, Fedor Bekesh, Zenon Kosak, Stepan Okrimovych, Stepan Bandera, Andriy Melnyk, Oleksa Hirnyk, and thousands of other well-known and unknown heroes of the Ukrainian people.

You can read more about the Boykos history here: https://ukrainianpeople.us/%D0%B1%D0%BE%D0%B9%D0%BA%D0%B8/