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Kukkónia – the origins of the name

To remember the old ones is to respect our traditions. To love, honor and guard the ancient land where our ancestors lived and worked, the land where we were born and live, or from where we set out into the world and to where we ultimately return, seeking peace and joy – is a duty. Every nation is proud of its country, its fatherland, honoring its historical and cultural artifacts and cultivating its ancient traditions. This is our aim…

The many myths and legends that were created in pre-historic times were kept alive for centuries on the lips of those who settled in Great Rye Island. On long winter nights shepherds, also said to be shamans, and old crones suspected of witchcraft, told stories of ancient times when Great Rye Island was inhabited by fairies with supernatural powers, benign goblins, enchanted maidens called wilis, roaring dragons, tree-pulling giants and other miraculous creatures.

In historical documents we mostly encounter the Hungarian name of the island “Csallóköz” written in different forms. Some romantic explanations of the name exist in the folklore. One story tells of how Great Rye Island was also called “Kukkónia”. Legend has it that this folk name originated in the times of the Tatar invasion. The story goes that one of the braver Hungarians, seeking shelter in the marshlands and swamps among the reeds, decided to spy on the enemy to find out if they had left their lands and villages. Suddenly, riders appeared just in front of him and so terrified was he, that he ran nonstop to the common shelter in the marshlands, and even upon reaching safety, for the longest time was only able to hiccup, “kukk, kukk”. Thereafter the locals were teasingly called “kukkoh“. Another version of this humorous legend tells of how the word “kukk” originates not from a hiccup, but from the croak of a native frog, the fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina), which the hiding folk imitated (kukk-koh), in order to communicate with each other, informing the others of their whereabouts or of the enemy’s approach.



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The History of Great Rye Island - Kukkónia
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