Romania Culture and Traditions
CULTURE: GENERAL INFORMATION
According to topb2bwebsites, the Romanian cultural heritage was formed under the close influence of the Slavic and Orthodox world, which in the past centuries, however, have been mixed with Hungarian, Russian, Byzantine, Jewish, Gypsy and Western elements. The Romanian language is emblematic of this profound mixture: it is a language of Latin origin, the only Romance language of Eastern countries, written in the Latin alphabet and with a vocabulary largely of Slavic origin. The relative cultural isolation in which Romania found itself in the years in which it was a socialist state and the rural character of its economy have contributed to maintaining in this country a certain continuity with the popular traditions that in other places were abandoned after World War II.. Little known outside national borders due to the language, however, Romanian literature is extremely refined, even if some of its most innovative interpreters, such as Eugène Ionesco and the poet Paul Celan, have lived in other European countries; film production also stands out for its wealth, albeit penalized after 1989 by a certain financial difficulty of the state. University locations in addition to the capital Bucharest are Iasi, Cluj, Craiova, Galati, Tîrgu Mures and Timisoara. They were declared world heritage by the Craiova, Galati, Tîrgu Mures and Timisoara. They were declared world heritage by the Craiova, Galati, Tîrgu Mures and Timisoara. They were declared world heritage by the UNESCO, in addition to the natural environment of the Danube delta, some churches and monastic complexes that testify to an artistic and religious past with peculiar characteristics, such as the fortified churches of Transylvania (1999), the wooden churches of Maramures (1999), the churches of Moldavia with their splendid Byzantine frescoes (1993); finally, an archaeological testimony of exceptional value is the Dacian fortress in the Orastie mountains (1993).
In Bucharest there is one of the most interesting ethnographic museums in the world. The government of the past regime wanted it to enhance customs and traditions that in Romania, as elsewhere, are disappearing, and it was a particularly happy initiative, unlike other initiatives by Ceausescu marked by a sad and rhetorical interpretation of what they should be the “popular” traditions. Birth and marriage are still today, albeit to a lesser extent than in the past, the greatest opportunities to revive traditional customs in a lively way. Dancing and singing are always a must, especially in rural villages. Suffice it to say that the Folklore Institute of Bucharest has collected over 60,000 popular poetic compositions of all time (famous the doinā, on the themes of wandering life, love and death). Festivals are occasions for young people to meet, to whom a day was even dedicated, that of 20 July, known as the “fair for girls to marry” which was held on Mount Găina. Today little remains of that ancient festival, a day of meeting, singing, dancing, among which the most common is the hora. In the hour of sadness, of the disappearance of a loved one, it is still the song that testifies to the feeling of pain. The bocete, or dirges, slow, plaintive, resound from dawn to dusk, sung by one or more groups. Christmas is one of the most heartfelt holidays. It is the day when the colinde are sung, beautiful dialogues of exquisite poetry, in which the main facts of the life of Christ are celebrated. The Colinde are generally sung by children from seven to twelve years. In some countries sacred representations are also organized, the Vicleim and the Izozi, whose names derive from a deformation of Bethlehem and Herod. The first day of the year still sees young people in some villages walking through the streets following a plow pulled by oxen and singing the plugusor or song of the plow. Also this day, like Christmas or Easter, records a large consumption of cozonac and colac, wheat donuts that appear on the tables of Romanians in all great festivals. Easter coincides with the spring festival or Green George, common to much of the Slavic world. Verde Giorgio is played by a boy literally covered with leaves and flowers (a living symbol of the tree), who has the task of propitiating the spirits of water and vegetation. In the rural areas of the country, the houses were once a real museum of miniature craftsmanship, enlivened by the wooden decorations, the brightly colored ceramics, the brightly colored carpets hanging on the walls. The traditional clothes were also very imaginative, with varied shapes, triumphant everywhere with embroidery, fringes, decorations, with evident overlapping of Turkish, Bulgarian, Russian and Saxon influences. L’ embroidered fabric craftsmanship is reviving almost everywhere in Romania as a consequence of the greater diffusion of European and Western tourism; in fact, it is the tourists who have replaced the buyers of traditional handicrafts that had lost their natural market all over the country. § Finally, a nod to the cuisine, rich in specialties. The most popular dish is the mămaligă, a kind of polenta, served with eggs, milk, cheese, or with golden onions in a pan. Famous are the mititei, ox meat sausages, the sărmale, meatballs wrapped in vine leaves. Among the soups are preferred acidic ones such as bors and ciorbă. Among the numerous other typical dishes, caviar in salads (icre negre) and ghiveci are worth mentioning (vegetable soup cooked in the oven with the addition of pork). There are many cheeses, especially those made from sheep’s and goat’s milk. Finally, in Romania, at least 400 types of wine of all varieties are produced, dry, sweet, sweet and fortified, renowned for their quality, and exported to many European countries including Italy. Among the most famous reds are those from the Dealu Mare, Murfatlar, Segarcea areas and among the whites those from the Cotnari, Dragasani, Tirnavani and Stefanesti areas. But the favorite drink of Romanians is zuica, plum brandy, which the locals drink mainly as an aperitif.