Romanian National Culture

Romanian National Culture

Description of Romanian culture and its influences

Local Culture, cultural events and manifestations

Cultural events and manifestations in Romania.

Cultural local partners

Description and activities

The folklore culture from the Romanian space works mostly as a synthesis of the elements borrowed from other populations, its originality consisting in the way of combining and selecting them. In antiquity and in the Middle Ages, the most important influences were from the Slavic peoples who migrated to the Carpatho-Danubian area and formed in its vicinity – Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine, Poland and Russia – from the Greeks in The Byzantine Empire and later, under Turkish protection, from Fanar, from the Ottoman Empire, from the Hungarians, as well as from the Germans living in Transylvania. Modern Romanian culture has emerged and developed in the last 250 years under a strong influence from Western European cultures, especially French and German. In addition, under the influence of the Byzantine and Slavonic tradition, Romanians are also the only majority Orthodox Christian people among the Latin peoples.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Romania currently includes in its list six cultural sites (churches in Moldova, Horezu Monastery, villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, Dacian fortresses in the Orastie Mountains, historic center of Sighisoara and wooden churches in Maramures) and two natural sites (Danube Delta and the secular and virgin beech forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe). 

Romania also has seven elements on the Intangible Heritage List (the Cǎluş ritual, the doina, the Horezu pottery, Men’s group caroling – Christmas-time ritual, the Lad’s dances, Traditional wall-carpet craftsmanship and the cultural practices associated with March 1). November 16 was declared UNESCO World Heritage Day in Romania by Law no. 160/2013.

The UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage was officially created in 2008 and was the result of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, signed in Paris on 17 October 2003.

The Cǎluş ritual (inc luded in the U N ES C O patrimony in 2005)
The Cǎluş ritual represent the participants in Cǎluş dance, a traditional Romanian dance, present in ancient times in Moldova , Oltenia and in Transylvania.
The Cǎluş ritual is a Romanian custom practiced during the period popularly called Rusalii, more precisely in the nine days between the Orthodox feast of the Ascension and the one called Rusalii. Similar traditions exist throughout the European empire of the former Roman Empire, from the Moorish Dance in Britain or the Pauliteiros in Portugal. 

Horezu pottery
(included in the UNESCO patrimony in 2012) Ceramica de Horezu is a type of Romanian ceramics typical of the Oltenian city of Horezu. A dominant symbol in the painting of Horezu vessels is the rooster with which, however, we meet other figures such as stars, snakes, trees, people, flowers, fish, double spiral, straight line, wavy line, leaf, belt, sun, spike, the tree of life and the peacock’s tail. There are also two specific colors of the area: red and yellow Horezu.

Men’s group caroling
(included in the UNESCO patrimony in 2015) Men’s caroling is a very old traditional winter custom in Romanian culture, being found in the space of the Republic of Moldova, in Romania, but also in the territories related to the Romanian space.
The Romanian Christmas caroling ritual in the male crowd, supported f rom generation to generation by young people from villages in Romania and the Republic of Moldova, who go from house to house and perform ritual songs (carols), receiving in return symbolic gifts and
money, has an important function to preserve the social identity and to ensure the cohesion of the communities in which it is practiced.

The Lad’s dances
(included in the UNESCO patrimony in 2015)
The Lad’s dances is an archaic dance, with movements specific to the old traditions, which are danced in Transylvania, being inherited and perpetuated from father to son. It is practiced only by men, with different festive occasions, the specialists characterizing it as one of the most difficult Romanian dances, from a technical point of view. The custom contributes to the spread of social and intercultural dialogue, between participants being Romanian dancers, but also Hungarian or Roma. Boy dancing is a good opportunity for young men to strengthen their status in the community, especially among young girls and their families, for marriage.

(included in the UNESCO patrimony in 2009)Doina is a lyrical, vocal or instrumental creation, specific to the Romanian people, in which the unknown author directly expresses his/her feelings of longing, mourning, alienation, revolt, sadness, love, hatred against oppressors, regret, etc. Doina is also called a species of popular literature, belonging to the lyrical genre, in which the author expresses his/her feelings and beliefs towards some problems of life, towards time and nature and towards himself/herself.
Classical doines are predominantly vocal and monophonic and have an interpretation that varies by region. The vocal doines contain interjections (mai, hey, dui-dui, iuhu), it also contains sighs, cries, mourning sounds, etc. Instrumental doines are usually performed on instruments such as the flute, but can also be performed on strings. The folk song Doina is a non-ceremonial song and is usually sung in solitude, having a significant psychological impact on a person.

Traditional wall-carpet craftsmanship
(included in the UNESCO patrimony in 2016) Traditional wall-carpet craftsmanship is spread all over Romania and the Republic of Moldova. Bark weaving was practiced in the peasant household, in specialized workshops in Orthodox monasteries of nuns and in family associations. In ancient times, the bark was used mainly for wall decoration or in funeral rituals. It was also in the dowry of brides, the tissue having initiatory valences, girls who did not learn the craft had little chance to get married. Now, the bark is considered mostly a work of art. The barks were made with the help of horizontal and vertical weaving warp, by intertwining the wool thread. After the wool was spun, it was dyed with vegetable pigments, then warped and threaded.

The cultural practices associated with March 1
(included in the UNESCO patrimony in 2017)
The origins of this cultural practice are not known exactly, but its presence in both Romanians and Bulgarians (under the name of Martenita) is considered to be due to the common Daco-Thracian substratum, prior to Romanization in the former and Slavization in the latter, although popular legends give it other origins. It is also considered that the feast of martisor appeared during the Roman Empire, when the New Year was celebrated on the first day of spring, in the month of Mars. He was not only the God of war, but also of fertility and vegetation. This duality is noticed in the colors of martisor, white means peace,
and red – war. The New Year was celebrated on March 1 until the beginning of the 18th century. Currently, martisor is worn throughout March, after which it is caught by the branches of a fruit tree. It is believed that it will bring abundance to people’s homes. It is said that if someone makes a wish while hanging the martisor tree, it will be fulfilled immediately. At the beginning of April, in a large part of the villages of Romania and Moldova, the trees are decorated with martisoare. In some counties of Romania, martisor is worn only the first two weeks. In Transylvanian localities, martisoare are hung on doors, windows, and the horns of domestic animals, as it is considered that this can scare away evil spirits.