Bucharest's Christmas lights are switched on on December 1st, Romania's National Day and are switched off on January 6th. The opening ceremony in Piaţa Unirii is accompanied by a firework display. The centrepiece of the illuminations is a giant artificial tree, said to be the tallest in Europe. The tree is 76 metres high, as high as a 21-storey skyscraper, 26 metres in diameter, weighs 290 tons and is covered with an incredible 2.4 million lights. In 2007, 25 lorries were needed to transport the tree and decorations, which took two months and the 300 people to erect.
Romania passed through a difficult transition period between the Ceasescu's dictatorship and Iliescu first government. The 'revolution', which began in the blood in Timisoara (North-West) spilled all over the country in a very confused series of battles, where the fighting parties were no clear at all. The picture shows the former headquarters of the Romanian Communist Party, where Ceasescu tried to deliver his last speech, while being boohed by the people.
In the left corner, a small building may be noticed: it remained unrepaired as it is considered a permanent symbol of those bloddy days. The building is supposed to be one of the hidden places where the secret police (Securitate) brought the people.
One of the most beautiful Romanian Easter traditions is painted eggs. The shells of hard-boiled eggs are dyed in colourful patterns, with a rich red the prevailing colour. They are often decorated with folk motifs. Designs are made with an implement called a condei or chisita - a small cartridge filled with paint with a sharp point on the end. There are a myriad of motifs used on painted eggs. The most popular ones are the cross, the star, the sun, the wave, the zigzags, and stylised flowers. Sometimes motifs are applied using natural leaves. Traditionally, it's the women who paint Easter eggs, and they have to do it on the Thursday before Easter.
Hora is the name for the large circle dance and is the most widespread dance in Romania, partly because any number of participants of both men and women, of any ability or age, can join in. The term Hora is also used for the Sunday village dance, even where the Hora dance does not form part of the dance cycle
Prince Vlad Zepes, better known as "Dracula" ruled the Romanian province of Wallachia, by the way, not Transylvania (north of Wallachia). Transylvania was actually the site of his lengthy imprisonment under a Hungarian king: ...According to the legend, this is when Dracula's wife, in order to escape Turkish capture, committed suicide by hurling herself from the upper battlements, her body falling down the precipice into the river below -. Vlad, who was definitely not the kind of man to kill himself, managed to escape the siege of his fortress by using a secret passage into the mountain. Helped by some peasants of the Arefu village, he was able to reach Transylvania where he met the new king of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus. However, instead of providing some help, Matthias arrested Dracula and imprisoned him at the Hungarian capital of Visegrad. It was not until 1475 that Vlad was again recognized as the prince of Wallachia, enjoying a very short third reign. In fact, he was assassinated toward the end of December 1476....
I did not realize that Romanians were so religious. In fact, when on Bucharest buses, I noticed that every time we were passing by a church, local people were doing "the cross sign", really everyone on the bus, even very young people.
I thought Italy was a religious country, but to my surprise Romania is even more!
"Mărţisor" is a traditional celebration taking place every year on March 1st and marking the arrival of spring. Its name comes from the name of the month of March (martie in Romanian) and literally it means “little” March. On this day the custom is to give small objects as a gift to those close to you, all this objects having one thing in common, a red and white string which is tied to the object. Usually men give this gifts to women and women (only) wear them pinned to their shirts for luck. The wikipedia article dedicated to this custom cites that in the past these objects were seen as talismans or charms while today they have “became more of a symbol of friendship and love, appreciation and respect”. The custom appears to be very old, with many ethnologists saying that its roots go as far as the Roman Empire or the Thracians. It is a nice custom and a good way for artists to make some money by selling hand made “mărtişoare” – the small object given as a gift bears the same name as the name of the celebration: mărţişor.
From January 1, 2001, citizens of EU member countries no longer need visas to enter Romania. Your passport will be stamped, and you will be entitled to stay for up to 60 days in Romania free of charge. If you an American, you can stay 30 days visa-free, while citizens of Australia and New Zealand still need visas (obtainable at the border).
Traditional souvenirs from the country include: embroidered blouses, frosted and gilded glassware, wooden miniatures, embroidered tablecloths, lace, icons and hand-woven textiles. For those VT'ers like Richie and I the thing to take home is tuica (plum brandy).
Like many other cultures around the world, we have great respect for our elders. If you see an older squi...I mean, person...having difficulty, you may want to offer to assist them. This is a picture of bunicut (pronounced boonicoots), my grandpa. He is a very, very old squirrel (my father's father). His hair is all white! And, just like some old people, he...shrunk a bit. (Thank you lovey)
1. Men generally shake hands, while women kiss or hug each other to greet. However it is still familiar in certain situations for men also to hug each other and this is not regarded as a sexual offence.
2. When you want to give someone flowers, bear in mind that one flower is generally only given to the person you love, and then bigger odd numbers are welcome as a gift to anyone. Even numbers of flowers are only given to the dead. Therefore beware!
3. When visiting churches, it is familiar for people to wear either long dresses or long trousers; shorts are traditionally not acceptable; in a church usually women are kindly asked to cover their hair with a headkerchief.
4. When invited for a meal and you refuse because you do not eat pork, for instance, it is OK. But when invited for a drink or meal and you simply refuse, it can be taken as mistrust or as the lack of pleasure you would have to accept the offer.
5. Romanians pay little attention to time. Do not get angry if your friend / partner / acquaintance is 10 minutes late, he/she will blame the tram, the weather, the neighbour or whatever and you will lose 10 more minutes talking in vain...
6. When you are in Rome, act like Romans. So do not expect Bucharesters to do things as you like, rather try to understand why they are late, why they drive so madly and so on. After all, Bucharest is their home and it has not been built to please tourists. To the good and to the bad of it.
This is an absolute must-see: if you cannot get out of Bucharest, visit the Village Museum (Muzeul Satului). It's on the far north side of the city on several hundred acres. Homes, churches, farms, and all sorts of other buildings from throughout the country were disassembled, shipped to Bucharest, and reas-sembled here. The museum is a pleasure to visit and, for those who don't have the time to get out into the country, offers an excellent opportunity to see what life is like elsewhere in Romania. You can see how the architecture differs from place to place, what ordinary life is/was like, and glean a helpful understanding of Romania. It is one of the best examples of a living museum I have seen anywhere in the world and it is an absolute must-see for all visitors.
Location: Soseaua Kiseleff, 28-30 (directly north of the city on the main road leading into/out of town.
More Info: Tel. (40) 1 222-9110 or you can visit their helpful website. Their e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
He was declared saint in 1955, one the worse years for Christian faith in Romania, because of persecution by communists. Several important men of faith, monks, bishops and archbishops lived, during different periods, in the monastery. The bishops and archbishops of Bessarabia and Bucovina, exiled from their territory after annexation to Russia, were also its guests. A very important institution has been the Seminary, ans it formed many remarkable representatives of the Church. Among them is Father TEOCTIST, Patriarch of Romania, who studied for eight years in this school. At the time of the 2nd World Wat, the Seminary and monastery typography were shut down. Now, with the blessing of the Holy people, who want to follow the way of Christ, can find nurturing for their souls and become, according to their individual inclination, typographers, professors or craftsmen, while living a live of prayer. Since 1995, the Theological Seminar has been reopened. Among the younger teacher-monks, is the only professor from the old seminar, symbolic representative of the religious teaching class of the past. We remark with joy that, in work and dedication, man has not forgotten to give to God the most beautiful things, undertaking the restoration of the church, of the paintings and the construction of a new school for those who wish to walk the way of the Lord.
People here shake hands when they first meet, and after that a kiss on each cheek is acceptable.
always greet a stranger formally, and use the polite form of you 'vu'.
if you are familiar with the person you can be as informal as you like!!!!
In Bucharest is common, especially in the summer, to sit outside in Cafes and have a drink to enjoy the good weather