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Winter Customs In Romanian Villages Essay

800 words - 4 pages

Winter Customs in Romanian Villages

Few people in today's world maintain and cherish their age-old customs, as do the villagers of Romania. Hardly a week goes by without a religious or secular festival somewhere in Romania. Some of the best, however, take place between Christmas and New Year's.

For the grandest winter spectacle, head to Romania's northwestern corner by December 27 when the "Festivalul Datinilor de Iarna" (Winter Customs Festival) takes place in the town of Sighetu Marmatiei.

When a group reaches the reviewing stand, they earn a few minutes in the spotlight for a carol, a folk dance or a tune on old instruments such as the "trambita," an extremely long horn, or the ...view middle of the document...

With amazingly fast foot movements, punctuated by high kicks and boot-slaps, they maneuvered themselves and white cloth horse heads, attached to their waists and adorned with embroidery, tassels and a multitude of colored pom poms, around the small space. In olden days, white horses were believed to be messengers bringing life and luck and this dance symbolizes the bond between farmers and the animals that pull their wagons and aid in working the land.

A clack, clack, clack signaled that the "capra" (goat) was coming. A guaranteed crowd pleaser, the carved wooden head is attached to a long pole which the bearer manipulates to noisily open and close the mouth as he dances around. Any resemblance to a real-life animal has been disguised with long ribbons, a towering headdress and whatever other adornments flash into the creator's mind. This dance once foretold an increase in shepherds' flocks along with abundant crops in the new year. Today's antics are lighthearted, with many a satirical reference to the manners and morals of the villagers. Another festival staple is the dance of the bears (the two-legged costumed variety). Accompanied by their Gypsy trainer and a youth beating a tambourine-type instrument, the animals crawl through the crowd. Reaching the centre, they perform a dance until eventually, the bears fall dead on the ground....

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