More interesting things about us you can find here. At first sight, particularly in the cities, Romania might seem to differ little from western democracies. People spend time with family and friends, are nationally if not devoutly religious and enjoy shopping, sports and socializing.
Romania is a Latin country culturally. People are typically demonstrative, talking loudly and emphasizing the point they are trying to make with dramatic gestures. To an outsider many conversations between Romanians appear to be altercations. If a Romanian addresses you in a blunt or animated way, do not assume that he is angry with you - it is more likely that this is normal. Conversations come with frequent interruptions and if two people are talking at the same time, there is not guarantee that one feels obliged to stop.
Romanians are warm and tactile people and are quick to extend the hand of friendship, particularly friendly to foreigners and like them to form a good impression of their country. Religious symbols are common; families often have icons in their homes. Although a high proportion of Romanians will cross themselves when they pass a church, actual church attendance is far lower suggesting that 25 percent of Romanians go at least once a week to the church. Because I spoke here about the church I will tell you something about the superstitions. Spilling salt on the table is considered unlucky. Salt is sometimes thrown in the middle of the storm to try to end it. Brides should not be seen by each other in the church - because weddings are concentrated around certain times of the year for religious reasons, there may be many ceremonies on the same day.
A bouquet of flowers given as a present should consist of an odd number; an even number is the norm for the funerals.
Romanian Christmas celebrations are not dissimilar to festivities in western countries. Things do get started a little earlier, on St. Nicholas Day, on December 6. On this day, children’s boots, which have been polished and left out the night before are traditionally filled with small presents, and sometimes a stick to warn the little ones to behave well for the year ahead. Of course everybody sings carols. Of course on December 25th we celebrate Christmas and we are waiting for Santa Claus to come on the evening of December 24th.
A winter celebration in a Romanian village can be a unique experience. On Christmas and New Year’s Eve, children and young people go from door to door singing carols, and young men perform „The Goat“ or „Bear“ dance. The Goat dance used to be a ceremonial religious element of agricultural celebrations, a ritual designed to bring fertility for the following year, herds full of animals and abundant crops. The dance is accompanied by a wooden flute, and at the end one of the young men, approaching the table where the host family sit, wishes them good fortune for the following year. The young me dance with the lady of each house and her daughters and then, refreshed with treats provided by their hosts, offer thanks and take their leave.
Easter is the most important festival in the Orthodox Christian year. Chief among these traditions is the painting, breaking and eating of eggs. Boiled eggs are coloured and then smashed against each other, as the smashers say „Christ is risen!“ (Hristos a inviat!) and the answer is „He is risen indeed!“ (Adevarat a inviat!). Also this is the form of salute for the Christian for at least one week after the Easter. Instead of the classic „Hello“ we say „Christ is risen“ and the answer „He is risen indeed“.
Many Romanians name their children after saints. On the particular day associated with a given saint, people who share the name will celebrate in much the same manner as they would their birthday. Children will bring sweets into school for their classmates and if a few adults are celebrating together and some name days coincide - there may be a small work party. People also celebrate on the saint’s date of their middle name.
A wedding is a huge deal in the life of most Romanians, who will probably have been encouraged to take this step by their parents. A civil ceremony, attended only by close friends and family is followed a day or so later by a church service, after which a restaurant is booked for a big party. Instead of bringing presents, guests are expected to give cash - enough to cover their share of the cost plus some extra.
The party involves traditions such as the „kidnapping of the bride“, where male guests drive the bride away and return her in exchange for a „ransom“, usually alcohol.
Traditional etiquette requires that a younger person greets an older person first, although few people other than the elderly still have this expectation. The convention is that a child should greet an adult, and a man a woman, by saying „Sarut mana“, which translates as “I kiss your hand“.
There you have some information about us. The rest I am sure that you’ll observe along your journey in Romania.
Martisorul is a tradition which takes its name from the month of March (Martie). According to the old Roman calendar, March 1st was the first day of the year and marked the beginning of celebration of Mars, god of natural forces, of spring and agriculture. Every year on this day we renew our hope, optimism, faith and strength. We invoke this time’s triumph of resurrection and regeneration by giving our loved ones a „martisor“, small symbolic totems woven from two combined threads one red and one white, one each for happiness and luck. The most popular characters of martisor are the four leaves, the chimney sweeper, the heart, the swallow, the horseshoe and the ladybird.
Folk Dances. If you are lucky enough to be invited to a Romanian wedding, don’t hesitate to accept! Every wedding is celebrated with folk dances and fiddlers. Hora, Invartita, Sarba, Batuta, are some traditional dances, each representing a different region of the country. Perhaps the most spectacular and dynamic dance from the Romanian folklore is „Calusarii“ (part of UNESCO heritage) a complex, ritual dance which relates to fertility and healing and stirs up a delirious, tireless out-pouring human energy.
Songs for the soul is considered in Romania, the one called “Doina”. It is performed to a panpipe flute which creates a visceral reaction to the listeners. The precise origin of the panpipe is not known for sure and archaeology and history records are saying that it is used all over the world. As dramat and type of songs it is similar to Portuguese „Fado“ songs.
Romanian Culture and Inventions are a part of us not known outside of the country. Starting with techniques and inventions I will start to talk about some pioneers of aviation: Traian Vuia who was the first man in the world who flew with an object heavier than the air using its own engine. After him, another contribution was brought by Aurel Vlaicu and the jet engine of the planes today was made because of Henri Coanda a Romanian engineer. Another Romanian contribution to humanity it was, insulin and the fountain pen.
Constantin Brancusi was a key figure in the renewal of contemporary sculpture expression. Leading auction houses worldwide have sold his works to elite collectors, but anyone can admire some of his sculptures in peace, in the Romanian city Tg. Jiu.
George Enescu (1881 - 1955) was the most important Romanian musician of his time. Composer, violinist, pianist, conductor and teacher, Enescu studied in Vienna and Paris. He conducted Ludwig van Beethoven’s ninth symphony for the first in Romania and compositions by Claude Debussy as well as his own creations including Symphony number 2 and Orchestral Suite No. 2 in C Major. Enescu’s international celebrity rests especially on his Romanian Rhapsody No.1 which was made popular by Leopold Stokowski, conductor on the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra.
Romanian literature given the world many gifted writers, unfortunately insufficiently translated in other languages, if at all I will name here Ion Creanga, Ion Luca Caragiale, George Cosbuc, Nichita Stanescu, Adrian Paunescu or the genius Mihai Eminescu. I will put in the next lines three poems of Mihai Eminescu and George Cosbuc, to give an idea about Romanian poetry.