NR.1/ April 2008
THIS MAGAZINE WAS MADE BY THE JONITEIST TEAM of the “C.A. Rosetti” High-School
„A well done education can always salvage from any soul all the good and the usefull that it contains”
This is our title (A JOURNEY FROM NATIONAL IDENTITY TO EUROPEAN IDENTITY THROUGH SCHOOL THEATRE)
Partners: C.A.Rosetti High-School–cordinator and
IES Urbano Lugris,Coruna,Spain.
This project is part of the Comenius Sectorial Programm in the new Lifelong Learning Programm 2007-2013
This bilateral partnership has as a starting point the idea that in order to build a united Europe, young people need to better communicate and enrich spiritually, therefore it focuses on the development of linguistic competences and it encourages an intercultural dialogue which can result in a comparative study. We all know that comparative studies encourage critical reflection which is not given enough importance in everyday teaching.
The main interest is the research in Romanian and Spanish customs, the findings of which are to be used in a play written, directed and performed by students. Students will also write magazine articles and will create a CD and a web page, using both Romanian and Spanish. The information will also be helpful in the creation of end products such as traditional masks, painted eggs and icons.The approach is not only cross-cultural but also interdisciplinary. Because cultural studies help us see how culture is lived and experienced by a full range of participants, it does not limit itself to studying foreign languages, art or history. Students as well as teachers are invited to see themselves as potential producers and authors of creative analysis. The contact with the local educational authorities provides the frame for the dissemination.
The starting point of this Partnership was the idea that young people need to communicate better and thus become spiritually richer to build a united Europe. That’s why this project focuses on the development of linguistic competences and encourages an inter-cultural dialogue.
JOINTEIST – A journey from national identity to European identity through school theatre – is the title of the bilateral project which happens in our school during October 2007 – August 2009.
Liceul Teoretic C.A.Rosetti, Bucuresti, Romania – the coordinating school
IES Urbano Lugris, Coruña, Galicia, España.
We all know that the intercultural dialogue develops a comparative study which clearly leads to critical thinking. What we are interested in is this research of customs, traditions both Romanian and Spanish, and the ideas found will be used in writing a play, then directed and acted by the students. The students will write journal articles and a web page using Romanian, English and Spanish. All the information gathered will help us create some traditional objects such as masques, painted eggs and icons. Also, both students and teachers are invited to produce creative analysis.
By encouraging intercultural dialogue we promote linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe. Since diversity is an accumulation of national values, Romania struggles to shape her identity and promote her symbols. Thus, it is essential for us to know exactly our identity elements which are to spread to the world a positive message about our country and the Romanian spirit. It is necessary that the young people of our countries communicate a positive and coherent message through all channels available. We have got a remarkable cultural inheritance. Our folk culture is, together with our history and language, an ingredient which identifies us and ensures a prestigious place in the big European family. National identity represents an itinerary inside the essence of the human being. Our identity is given by the attitude each of us has towards a lot of things, ideas, persons, such as our parents: a relationship which shapes our identity profoundly. This can be seen at the linguistic level, too. Obviously, if you do not master your mother tongue well, it is not possible to speak another language well enough. Moreover, one will not be able to think properly since thinking is done in one’s mother tongue. By learning other peoples’ languages we learn to appreciate their culture and go beyond cultural differences. We surely need a Europe with strong national identities.
Considering the established priorities in the development of the educational systems and the initial and continual forming:the european dimension through a better interinstitution colaboration and partnerships,and also the same criteria and principals regarding the quality in the initial and continuous professional forming, the theoretical high-school ‘C.A.Rosetti’ has proposed itself the approaching of intercultural project the purpose being, the education through cultural values and moral values. The project JOINITEIST coordinated by ‘C.A. Rosetti’ high-school represents a bonding between Romanian and Spanish cultural values, looking forward in order of knowing and understanding the cultural diversity and European linguistics for teachers and students too.
This bilateral partnership between the theoretical high-school ‘C.A.Rosetti’,Bucharest,Romania and IES Urbano Lugris, Coruna, Galice, Spain, it has as a start the ideea that the young people have need to communicate better, in order to exercise our quality as citizens of Europe, into a world of multicultural diversity.
The students and teachers will have the opportunity to discover another educational system from the prism of this project and to become aware of their appartanence to the European community of citiz
I consider extremely useful the interinfluence between projecting and forwarding of these European projects and the organizational culture.
I am certain that these international projects will influence in one way or another the way that teachers, students and parents approach the educational activity from school, their capacity of knowing and the attitude for the European values, promoted by these projects.
That’s why I appreciate my colleagues idea of developing and realizing a project like this one ”JONITEIST” and I wish them all the luck in forwarding all the activities they’ve proposed.
Senior assistant, Dumitrescu Mihaela
I am glad to participate on this bilateral project involving C.A.Rosetti High school and “Ies Urbano Lugris” from A Coruna , Spania.
I had the pleasure to change some e-mails with Margarita Cimadevila, the project coordinator from din A Coruna , Galicia , Spania and also to be near Elena Nedelea, Cristiana Ciocanea si Monica Ancuta since the idea of project was born .
Our students were informed and consulted about the bilateral project Joniteist in the students council and also in dialogues in the classroom
It seems to me that the idea of communicating by theatrical art is extremely good (benefic) for both Spanish and Romanian students. There are places in the traditions of every country, places who atracted fom the begining, places where legends ,miths or ancestral rituals heve been kept, transmeted to the new generations and lead to new (invataminte ) and pleasant experiments for the teenagers . I believe that these project activities means a new begining in the reaserch works of the young students involved in the project.
I also believe that the building of a website and a journal about youth of Europe make possible a real intercultural dialogue between the two teams members , dialogue wich is perfectly integrated in the 2008 year proposed by E.U.-„The Intercultural Dialogue Year”
One of the most important aims is to involve an important number of students in the profound studies of the traditions of some of the regions of the country .after studying and knowing more about traditions the students will proceed on selecting the most interesting roumanian traditions in order to present them on site or by writing articles related on national identity or the most importants moments of their work
They will reveal these articles in the journal of the project “YOUTH OF EUROPE “
The reporters of “YOUTH OF EUROPE” journal will follow the works of theatre’s team , the work of the painters and chorus as well as the folklore team, they will write interviews and make photos in order to surprise the most interesting aspects of the young students from “C.A. Rosetti” High school
Being in a dialogue with the students of Spain our pupils will develop their abilities to communicate with people of their age, the knowledge of Spanish and English languages and they will also they will know more about the partner country ,about his history ,culture and traditions of the Spanish region Galicia, they will fourfold their avidity of knowledge and they will understand better the meaning of being a member of the great European family.
I believe that the most important for the participants of the project is that they will discover them selves, without forgetting the joy to speak about the most important traditions, as the most beautiful character threats of the Romanian people, to make Bucharest, Romania familiar to the young’s from other countries.
I wish to my students to involve in that project with enthusiasm and to create the most original projects near their teachers !
Such a wonderful idea for a PROJECT!
When the idea for the project was discussed in our school my colleague, a teacher of English like me, Cristiana was the one to start the activity. I helped and, of course, I was happy to be part of the school which initiated such a project.
As a teacher of languages I enjoyed working for the subject of interest for me: languages and national identity. What else can be a more specific, particular sign for a people, a nation, than the language it speaks since a very long time ago.The linguistic dimension as well as the national traditions and customs are together a melting pot that characterize a nation.
Let’s make ourselves known in Europe! When we learn another people’s language we also start to learn more about the character, the spiritual side of each of us, what makes us so special. And so much more friendly: this is an occasion to know each other and speak about what interest us and assert that this is how we can be good neighbours in a large Europe.
The opinions of my students about being part of Europe have been expressed during the English classes. They said: “ it means more chances of affirmation for us, our qualities, the chances to meet new people; at the same time integration and knowing each other will mean no more fights and wars. Peace and understanding will exist between those countries that are named European Countries “ Laura from 10th grade. “ I like everything about my country: the language, the traditions, the beauty, our ancestors, our food and costumes, says Alina from 9th H grade. “Europe is a beautiful continent.I’m pleased that I’m a Romanian girl and an European child, wrote Madalina from the 9th H grade. More of their opinions will be printed in the school journal and in the web page.
See you soon and let’s make the most of our occasion to know each other!
Teacher of English in C.A. Rosetti Highschool, Bucuresti, Romania
The people who worked on this project...
Web Page, magazine, Videos.... (prof. Elena Nedelea ,Dumitrescu Mihaela,Gridan Mariana).
Work on “Tineri Europeni”(prof. Nedelea Elena si Niculescu Elisabeta)
2. Andrei Marius
3. Andrian Mihai
Translations, matherials, pictures, etc.( prof. Nedelea Elena,Niculescu Elisabeta,Monica Ancuta, Gridan Mariana, Ruscior Luiza, Tudor Luminita, Tanase Viviana ,Hasiu Cecilia,Bandila Viorel):
Barbulescu Diana,Roman Camelia,Nedelcu Ruxandra,Vladutu Alexandra,Constantin Raluca,Tudor Andeea,
Dumitru Irina,Slafciu Elena,Stratulat Sorina,Costache Laura,Ghimis Miruna
Work on the theatre piece.(prof.Monica Ancuta,Gridan Mariana)
Antonescu Stefania, Rau Elena Antonia, Petre Doru, Stanica Marilena, Gheorghe Laura, Stoian Matei, Dorin Danculoiu, Sorin Anghelescu, Dan Angelescu, Neacsu Alexandra, Georgescu Tiberiu, Vlad Benescu, Anghel Andreea.
Craftsmanship for JONITEIST during Art classes (prof. N. Pascariu)
Vişan Georgiana-Alexandra, Costache Laura-Alexandra, Constantin Raluca-Florentina
, Albu Florentina,Amarandei Simona-Beatrice,Badea Alexandru,Bîrdahan Lucia-Cristina,
Ciobanu Cătălina-Elena,Constantinescu Raluca,Dumitraşcu Sorin-Ioan,Ioniţă Silvia,Ioniţă Emanuela-Andreea,Iordache Andreea-Adriana,Manea Petruţa-Gabriela,Micrea Cezara,Mihai Roxana-Margareta,
Olteanu Mădălina-Alina Petruţa,Oprea Andreea-Simona,Petcu Georgeta-Adriana,Radu Roxana,Raiman Irina,Simion Daniela-Alexandra,Stancu Alexandra-Georgiana,Stancu Bianca,Stoian Matei,Stoica Oana-Cristina,Tănase Alina-Larisa,Ţepuş Cristina-Florentina,Teriţeanu Gabriela-Sorina,Trifan Mirela-Andreea, Tudoran Ana-Maria, Tudoran Silvia-Polixenia .
My city- Bucharest with a pair of headphones
I get lost on it’s narrow streets, I get lost walking just with a pair of headphones, I get carried away by everything that lies before me and the concrete surenders by me feet, without fighting, it surenders just to open my sight.
The small, narrow streets lie before my eyes and they carry me on their arms, it reveals it’s misterys, it’s wonders and it’s little secrets that most of the people don’t have time to see, cause they only see a cold, sad Bucharest, with old, grey, shrivelled buildings. But it unfolds in my presents, it trusts me like a best friend, it shows me all that is worth seeing, it tells me all that’s worth listening to, and I enjoy it.
I stroll all over and I want to see want it was a long time ago. So I walk down the streets of the old center, I am get lost in it like in a antique store, cause only here you can smell the perfume of the old times. In here the building although old, they don’t show their age cause they still have the architecture beauty, like an old lady dressed up really well who you can watch with pleasure. Here even the air smells nicer; you’re isolated from the noise and the pollution of the other streets. Slowly I get lost between the art workshops and shops with wedding dresses that carry me away and charm me with their beauty making me think about the princess dresses from my childhood tails. I get lost through the little streets where I can hear a part of a song that I kind of like. I feel like home because I remember of my childhood, but it’s more than that it teaches me something, it changes my vision, it gives me something more than I’m used to see every day. It is the best host who serves me with the best dishes and makes me feel like I am where I belong.
I slowly detach of what it has once been, but only to get lost within it again, because he carries me further and doesn’t let me go yet, because its confession is not over. I have much more to see I am letting it lead me, I get carried away by something invisible but amazing, that only I can feel. And it takes me to places I never knew existed, and it shows me that it’s religious, with its churches filled with old people and at the same time young people, it is religious by every candle flame that burn on the altar, by every cross that it wears, by every bell ring that scatters in all the unknown making all bow in front of God. It carries me further on in its places of freedom and life…it carries me in our refugees of green and air. It takes through its parks and I see what life means to it: little kids smiling and there innocent games, free concerts given by the birds that are spinning around, every tree and every flower that rule a little part of it, they grow roots in it and make it one, a single bench who waits for someone but… but they all come, stay a little while and leave, and every teenager, like myself, that search for a place that they can call their own, a place that it can make them feel like they are where they supposed to be. I found a place that I belong because I belong to it… I belong to Bucharest. It shows me what culture means to it by its libraries, its museums and its movie theater, all waiting for us with arms wide open. Just him, with his greatness, can offer me a little taste of the old times, a little culture and a little life with every breath of air... it gives me something that not everyone can see, because we have different ways of see it, a different way of feel it and a different way to hear it. We walk on its streets every day but we never stop... we never stop walking, we never escape from out thoughts, we never stop talking, never stop complaining, most important we never smile. We continue to ignore it, in our ignorance, although it is very friendly and kind... it has much to offer but none to offer. I stoped and listened, i enjoyed it and it paid me back for my time and my curiosity. I just did a ordinary walk around the city, a little journey. For my next expedition he promised me other interesting places to see, other confessions to hear, other mysteries to discover.
- Those who steps into our highschool feels right from the first moment a special atmosphere where seriosty , discipline and study focus intertwine perfectly with the adolescents exuberance.
- Teaching staff and students form a community with a harmonious relationship born out of communication, understanding mutual respect.
- Students have unlimited possibilites to express themselves, thus being actively involved in their oun shaping up. Their proposals are echoed in several extra curricular activities, school press circle (school magazine, radio station), sport competitions, funn and recreational activities. As far as the teaching stuff is concerned their youth, experience, professionalism, communication-are quite obvious.
Teacher Nicolae Alexandrescu
The mayor Neculai Ontanu celebrated ’The Day of Unification’ – Thursday, 24th of January, together with the High-School ‚C.A. Rosetti’’s pupils, who have celebrated 49 years from the high-school’s establishment through scientific sessions of communication, followed by the artistic programms prepared of the best talented young pupils.
Every year, beginning from 1999 and, at the Head of high-school’s initiative Mrs Elena Nedelea (1999- 2006) the teachers and pupils from this impressive high-school of the district 2 had made a tradition to turn the high-school into an intensive educational and cultural zone through organisation of seminars, craftsmanship, exhibits and many other contests.
At the oficial Rosetti Days’ Opening 2008 the mayor Neculai Ontanu has told about the importance which we have to give to the education, regarding a base of our future developing. At 49 years from the high-school ‚C.A. Rosetti’s establishement, the mayor of the district 2 wishes to the teachers and the pupils ’Success in the future’ and told them to represent the institution with honesty and impressive achievements till now.
At the Day of Unification, all people have made an unification hora together: techers, ex teachers, pupils, ex. pupils.
During Friday’s Day 25th of January had unrolled the session of scientific communication to the center’s level with the theme: ’The Globalization - pro and Against’ having the motto Alvin Toffler’s words: ’The best way to foresse the future is to invent this!’.
The aim of the project, told us the actual Head of he high-school, Mrs. Prof. Chiracu Georgeta, is the increasing of the information and cultural knowledge ’s level into the romanian university education .
Rosetti Days – 2008
A Spiritual Portrait of Romania
The continuous need of the Romanian people to balance from West to East, to unite the varied life components of the East and the West characterizes the Romanian spirit and gives it a wide spread sort of traits to allow such an openness.
Among the most praised character traits is equilibrium. Belonging to the Byzantine world sometime in its history, the Romanian people received such an education to manifest a balanced humanism, to master the unilateral, passionate impulses. Equilibrium is the normal existence for the Romanian people, as a coach driver who must calm down the impetuous horses and wake up the slow ones. The Romanian people consider those persons who are entirely on one opinion as foolish. The Romanian words “ e cam intr-o parte” mean “ He/She is a little crazy.” Likewise, the good people are “ cuminte” which means “ he/she does everything with his/ her mind”, being a person of moral order.
The Romanian spiritual equilibrium appears harmonious, very rich in meanings. The way people dress, sing, play and dance, the way they decorate their houses or their churches, the sculptures and paintings as pieces of art illustrate a unique harmony and charm.
There are a lot of colours in the Romanian folk costumes but white come into view mostly. What is pregnant is the harmony of all the colours, the seriousness and grace of all in their fashion.
In literature, irony is often found in Romanian in short poems called “epigrame” as well as in literary disputes. The ironic nicknames have become family names: Vulpe ( fox), Lupu (wolf), Ursu (bear), Surdu(the deaf) etc. Family members address comforting words such as: Puisor(little one), Bebe(Baby), Papusica(little doll), and diminutive names Danuta, Cristisor etc. the Greeks, for example, use neither ironic names nor diminutive names; they give meaning to the names an thus stand apart: Fotin ( the Luminous), Agatia (the Good) etc . The Germans, too, are solemn in the relationships between people and the names have meanings: Herman (Gentleman), Friederich ( The Gentleman of Peace).
Humour is like making fun of difficulties and it is followed by the decision to face all difficulties without fear. This is our people, with a love for humour in all circumstances. The lack of the sense of humour is seen almost as a moral drawback, a lack of gracefulness and power: Sadoveanu, Creanga, Cosbuc, the most original Romanian writers understood the Romanian spirit the best.
Kindness is another defining character trait of the Romanian. It is only the Romanian people who created a word full of meanings and ideals from the word “om” (human): “omenia” which in English means : kindness, sympathy, amiability. This is something that refrain people from falling into the temptations of all mean impulses, tendencies.Is means respect for all that is human and honourable, right and not injust.
Hospitality is linked to the character trait mentioned above, and it supposes openness of heart for the people, communication and tolerance for the foreigners. In this the Romanian people crosses the borders of family, village, country, placing itself within the universal humanity. We use to say such phrases as “He is a human heart” “
E suflet de om” when we meet and accommodate a poor person. We can say that for us it is a real joy to discover that being kind goes over the borders of one’s family, village, country. That is why on the territory of Romania many foreigners have settled since the migratory populations.
The Romanian people haswonderful customs and traditions, wishing to learn more, and enlarge the spirit. The Romanian Soul is open towards the human soul’s creations all over the world. It is open to the East but likewise to the West. “ Nothing can be more normal for us than to be in communion with other people, to need one another and to love one another.” (Saint Vasile the Great)
Stroescu Maria, cl 10 H
National identity is that we are,respect who we have.If don’t have respect,don’t have identity.The respect must have for all the people,no’t just for us.Natinonal identity means the respeact who have for our nationality.
In rural Romania you can experience a way of life which vanished from the west nearly a century ago. Traditional occupations such as shepherding, weaving and carpentry are still very much alive in its attractive little villages, where painting icons on glass and colouring eggs provide an attractive contrast to 21st century activities.You can see much that you cannot easily experience elsewhere: ploughing with horses, cutting hay with a scythe, milking a cow, making a horseshoe by hand at the forge. Food in rural Transylvania is frequently organic and, surprisingly to the Western visitor, full of flavour.
Romanian folklore is probably the
most varied and traditional in the whole of Europe, so many experts say. You will be
captivated by the beauty of the regional costumes which you may see passing
through villages near Sibiu, in the Apuseni Mountains or Maramures, Bucovina.
Transylvanian folk music and dancing is well known abroad. The 'Doina', a distinctively ballad, gives expression to a wide variety of feelings whereas dances like 'Invartita' or 'Fecioresti' demand great virtuosity.
The Romanian People
Romanians are said to be one of the most welcoming and friendliest
people in the world. When you first meet them, you
may find them formal by Western standards. This may take the form of
old-fashioned behaviour such as a man kissing a woman's hand when they meet.
Men usually greet each other with a hand shake and it is not unusual for friends,
both men and women, to kiss on both cheeks. In rural areas, it is usual to
greet people individually and even to greet strangers! Traditionally, first
names are used only by friends and relatives and by adults when they are
Romanians are, cheerful, happy people, always ready for guests and celebration. Any shyness will quickly change if you are friendly and interested. You will be surprised at the ability of many Romanians to speak other languages, including English. Should you be invited to the home of a Romanian, you may find that you are the guest of honour or at least the centre of attention. Hosts appreciate it when a dinner guest brings flowers or another gift. Make sure that you stay for a few hours, talk to everyone present and eat as much as you can!
With Romanians, the winter feasts are full cry from 24 December to 7 January. There central events occur during the Christmas Day, New Year and Epiphany, with their respective events. The most important feature of these feasts is their incomparably reach repertoire of customs, traditions, and believes, of artistic, literary, musical, choreographic and other folklore events, which make the winter holidays to be some of the most original and spectacular spiritual manifestations of the Romanian people.
Traditionally, during the first hours after dark on Christmas' Eve is the time for children to go caroling and the adults stay home to greet them. As they go caroling from house to house, the children receive treats like candy, fruit, baked treats and sometimes even money in appreciation of their performance and as a sign of holiday good will.
The grown-ups caroling goes on Christmas evening and night. The waits -young and mature people - gather in groups and they choose a leader. When they are in the front yard of a house, they perform their repertory to the host. The songs are always accompanied by dance. When the performance is over, the host invites the carolers inside the house for food, drinks and presents.
The Star Carol * Steaua
Children make a star using colored paper and then they put in its middle an icon of Jesus. Many of children decorate their star using shiny tinsel. The “Star Carol” is a tradition during the 3 days of Romanian Christmas.
While holding the star in the hands the children sing:
"The star has
appeared on high,
Like a big secret in the sky,
The star is bright,
May all your wishes turn out right…"
he Goat Tradition * Capra
Throughout the season, teenagers and young adults especially enjoy caroling with the “Goat”. The “Goat” is actually a usually boisterous young person dressed up in a goat costume. The whole group dances through the streets and from door to door, often with flute music. This tradition comes from the ancient Roman people and it reminds us of the celebration of the ancient Greek gods.
This custom is also called "brezaia" in Wallachia and Oltenia, because of the multicolored appearance of the goat mask. The goat jumps, jerks, turns round, and bends, clattering regularly the wooden jaws.
Costache Laura Alexandra
Feast Time - Joniteist and the Romanian Art
It is well known that art celebrates successfully the role of ambassador between countries. Because art reveals the same human essence, no matter the specific features that make every art unique. Any project of intercultural experience takes art into account, as this field of free expression matches most well with opening and offering.
Rosetti highschool team, pupils and teachers, while preparing for the meeting with the Spanish friends from IES Urbano Lugris (Coruña), is looking towards the ethnographic area for a better representation. In fact, this is our introduction: with open arms, showing what we have and what makes us proud. And never the less, with what we are able to create. Why is that important to add? On one hand we are not a school of arts and crafts, on the other hand, we are no longer strongly attached of our own roots. We live in an urban culture, a globalizing one. Moreover, our rural tradition suffered two major challenges: at the end of the 19th century the sudden transition from feudalism to capitalism and then, along the whole second half of the 20th century, the communist era. Instead, nowadays we possess ethnographic researches and village’s museums. Among them, the unique Museum of the Romanian Peasant, where the artist Horia Bernea left such a note: this is not an attempt to restore the past, which is not possible, but to remember it, to know it. So our presentation is also a self cognition exercise. And there is no place more appropriate for this exercise than school; where education is made through cultural models.
We have chosen from the content of our traditional visual arts the following: glass icons, masks and painted eggs. These objects are both eloquent and some of the most lively coloured, decorative and picturesque. The joyfull colours and the simple line of the icons, the idea of playing expressed by the mask, the playing itself which is „painting an egg” – are suited with the scholars’ age. The main material used for their manufacture is „the joy of playing”, even if the first meaning of these objects comes from the religious context.
The glass icon transposes the byzantin art vision into the familiar universe of the
Romanian peasant, while the eggs and the masks from arhaic pagan rituals have been adapted to the christian traditions. But from the beginning they have also been a way of expression for the eternal homo ludens. He perceived the cosmic elements as gods’ appearances and he took them over into his microcosm, in a stylized form, these signs filled with sacred power.
The human form in the icon is Jesus, the Lord’s image and archetype of the humanity. „Jesus and the vine”, one of the most popular subjects, shows another central symbol: the vine, the Eucharist fruit. Frequently draw on the eggs, the cross represents the sacrifice of love and the power of life. The red colour that prevails in the Easter eggs chromatic, (also in the traditional costume), is life’s sap, the blood that flew from Jesus wounds when He was crucified. And the egg itself always was, all over the world, a symbol of beginning, birth and rebirth, life and essential. While the human element prevails in the icon and the geometrical element in the eggs’ drawing, the mask brings forward the zoomorphic one: the goat, the bull, the stag, the bear, the horse – embodiments of the divinities who were assureing through their sacrifice the fertility of the earth and the protection from the evil spirits.
These protection and sacrifice through masks rituals were asked at the end of one year and beginning of the new one by the agrarian world mentality, strucured in the smallest detail by the natural cycle of earth regeneration.
In fact, all the objects we speak of – icons, masks and eggs – materialize feast moments from our calendar. Even from the profane point of view they appear as feast embodiments, loaded with a mysterious force that can not be other than the vital force who conceived them.
This force emanates from the abundence of forms and colours, their imaginative, free, fresh and surprising association, from the firm, simple and expressive outlines that define the things of this world. Or that are playing. Bright colours, neither dull, nor shrill, rich more through association than by number.
Not passionate, neither warlike or sentimental, or too elaborated and pretentious. Spontaneous and childish decorative spirit. The brilliance, also unpretentious, of the materials: the glass of the icons, the wax glaze on the eggs, the tinsel and the mirror pieces between the horns of the goat... Here we find merriment and measure, an optimistic attitude that we happily promote... because it is our own!
Teacher. Nadina Pascariu
Easter in Romania
is celebrated according to the rituals of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The
Friday before the Easter is called the Great Friday or the Friday of
sufferings, as it is the day when Jesus was crucified. On Saturday, people go
to church for the midnight mass, taking with them a bowl of Pasca, eggs and
steak, where these aliments are blessed by the clergy. On returning home from
the mass, people first eat some of the sanctified aliments and only then the
Holy Thursday, people start painting eggs in a multitude of colors. The
predominant color is red, but other colors are also applied - yellow, green,
blue and even black. Decorated eggs or 'oua incondeiate' are an integral part
of Easter celebration in Romania. The eggs are decorated using a type of thin
and round sticks called chisita, made of beech wood.
Easter cake, known as Pasca, is baked on Great Thursday. The Pasca can have a
round shape (reminding little Jesus' diapers) or a rectangular one (the shape
of His grave). The shells of the eggs used for the Pasca are thrown in a river.
This action stems from the ancient belief that the shells are taken by the
river to the country of the Good People, announcing them the Easter has came.
In some regions (Bucovina, Transylvania), there is a tradition called "the wetting". On Monday morning, the boys take a bucket of water and go to the houses of the unmarried girls. If they found them sleeping, the boys throw water on them. As it is believed that those girls will marry soon, they reward the boys who had wetted them by giving them the most beautiful decorated eggs and Pasca or cake.
The History of Valentine's Day
Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine's Day -- and its patron saint -- is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial -- which probably occurred around 270 A.D -- others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to 'christianize' celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)
Approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.
Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages (written Valentine's didn't begin to appear until after 1400), and the oldest known Valentine card is on display at the British Museum. The first commercial Valentine's Day greeting cards produced in the U.S. were created in the 1840s by Esther A. Howland. Howland, known as the Mother of the Valentine, made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as "scrap".
"Martisor" is the common name not too easy to pronounce by foreigners - of the month of March, but also of a custom, which symbolizes that spring has come. To emphasize this event better, an amulet has appeared: first a cod made of two threads of cotton, white and red tied to a pierced gold or silver coin. It was offered to children, girls and women. The color red symbolized the blood and life itself, while white, the purity of the sun and the first flowers. The gift was meant to bring health, beauty - in fact the three main conditions of happiness.
In the various areas of the country, this custom was kept differently: in some places the people wore this amulet, beginning on March 1, for 9 days until All Saints' Day, in others until Easter. Young girls used to throw the amulet towards the sun so that they might get rid of freckles.
Here, in Romania, the first days of spring are inconceivable without the image of "Baba Dochia". According to the legend the old lady was said to have worn either 12 or 9 coats, which she began to remove at the beginning of March, usually with changes in the weather. Sunny days were often followed by rain, and occasionally there might even have been some sleet. The legend also tells us that "Baba Dochia" had three special moments of her own: March, 1 - a time for sowing; March, 2 - dedicated to summer's work;finally March, 3 - representing the harvest in the autumn. Depending on how each day's weather turned out, one could expect similar conditions during the three seasons to come. A few, of course, resist the temptation of choosing a "Baba" during these first days of March,for if the day is clear and sunny, it means you are blessed with a pure and kind soul and everything will be good for you.
There's another part of the legend concerning the amulet that tells of "Baba Dochia" wandering with her herd through the hills and valleys. Like other Romanian peasant women of that time, she also used her time to spin wool. Upon finding a coin, she made a hole in the coin and passed a thread of wool through it. In time, various symbols began to replace this that initial coin. Today there are dogs an elephants signs of the zodiac butterflies, little hearts and flowers, keys an horseshoes, masks an dwarfs...an endless world in miniature can be created for an amulet until it is finally given on March 1, perhaps with a little bunch of snowdrops or violets.