It is impossible to speak of any common Uralic culture. Studies of contemporary cultures do not enable us to state with certainty which cultural features are original Uralic features and which are borrowed from other peoples or are phenomena typical of a specific geographical area.
The Uralic peoples can be classified into different cultural spheres. There are two different ways of categorising them:
1. northern group, central group, southern group
The northern group comprises the peoples of northern boreal forests and tundra: the Saami, Ob-Ugric and Samoyedic peoples. Their traditional livelihoods are fishing, hunting and reindeer husbandry. This group has cultural similarities with other indigenous peoples of Siberia.
The central group consists of the Finnic, Volga region’s and Permic peoples. Their primary livelihood is crop farming but, in addition, they engage in fishing and hunting, and also in reindeer husbandry in the northernmost areas. This group has cultural similarities with groups such as the North Germanic peoples, Balts and Russians and, in the Volga region, with local Turkic peoples.
The southern group is formed by the Hungarians, whose primary livelihood used to be equestrian (horse-riding) nomadism. Crop and livestock farming are carried out within the territory of today’s Hungary. The Hungarians have some old cultural similarities with their Turkic ancestors and more recent ones with other Southern European peoples.
2. western group, eastern group
The western group consists of the Saami (excluding the Skolt and Kola Saami), Finns, Estonians, Livonians and Hungarians. The peoples in this cultural group have already been influenced by the West and the Western Church (Catholicism and, later, Protestantism) in the distant past.
The eastern group comprises all of the other Uralic peoples. This group has already in the distant past been under a strong Russian cultural influence. The group has been in the sphere of influence of the Orthodox Church.