Romania Ethnography Folk costumes Dances Popular architecture
The traditional customs of the approximately 90 Romanian ethnographical areas developed in close contact with that of neighboring ethnic groups: Szekler, Saxons, Swabians, Turks, Tatars, Bulgarians, Serbians, Ukranians, Armenians, Jewish, Gypsies. Although it combines influences from such cultural areas, its main features remain the same for more than 2000 years. The countryside in Romania still keeps ancient traditions, a space where the time seems still.
Rich ethnographic area with a common background. A big diversity of folk costumes, very innovative tools and machines for the rural works, folk music and dances and traditions linked with the religious holidays or the most important moments of a year or of a man’s life.
The unity of the Romanian folk costumes appears in the material which is used, the cut, the style of coloring and embroidery adorning the costume. Weaving is still practiced in rural houses throughout the country on horizontal or vertical looms. The fibers predominantly used are: wool, cotton and linen, with silk or metallic thread added for ornament. Textile patterns and colors vary regionally, with color schemes often based on traditional combination of red, dark blue, black and white.
The women costumes consists of a thin white vale (marama) or a scarf (basma) for the head; a blouse with embroidery; a white pleated skirt above which they wear an embroidered skirt (catrinţă). Over the blouse, they wear a sheepskin coat and in winter, a long woolen coat.
The men costumes consist of a fur cap or a hat, very tight white trousers (iţari), a long shirt down to the knees decorated with embroideries, a big belt (brâu), a short sleeved leather coat and in winter, a long woolen coat is added.
The cut of the white shirt, as well as the ornamental embroidery used on, varies according to the age or gender of the one who wears it. Clothing and adornments worn by women have more ample and colorful embroidery, while those worn by men have reduced areas of embroidery, mostly using a single color.
The range and dosage of hues are used depending of the age of the person who wears it. In the northern region of Maramures, the black-red combination used for adornments changes as the red diminishes with the age of the person, finally being replaced by black.
Doina – distinctively Romanian ballad with verses giving expression to a wide variety of feelings from love to hate (outlaws ballads – they were popular heroes who fought against the boyars).
Hora – widespread in the whole country, this is a dance for men and women as well. The steps are generally simple, small and beat on the spot. It is accompanied by a flute or bagpipe.
Învârtita – common especially in Ardeal, this is danced in pairs. It consists of two parts – a walk alternating with pirouettes by the girls, and a rapid switching of partners round.
Brâul – this dance is popular on the both sides of the Carpathians. It can be danced either by men alone, or together with a women. Forming a semicircle the dancers hold each other either on the shoulders or by the belt.
Drăgaica – this old Romanian folk dance can be seen today only in SW part of Romania. Danced by 6 girls, it has an asymmetrical rhythm and lively steps.