Romanian Traditions: Folk Costumes and Dances at Village Festivals
Two months ago, I was writing about living the romanian tradition of round dance at village proms, next to local people from the village of Iaslovăț wearing Romanian folk costumes. Bucovina is a land of so many traditions and customs, but seeing people dressed in traditional costume and partying as a way of life is extraordinary!
They don’t get dressed to be recorded, but to enjoy the Romanian traditions and wear their costumes. Some of these people have jobs outside the country. But none of them have forgotten their roots. Compared to last years’, many more people came in traditional costumes. Almost everyone.
And this year was so crowded! There wasn’t almost any space to dance. I was amazed to see that some of them were wearing peasant sandals with woolen socks, and the men in long leather boots.
The blouses were extraordinary, some were wearing old blouses, and other women were wearing new blouses, a sign that the peasant women are still sewing and embroidering wonderful pieces. Now one thing I’ve noticed is that the old women are coming to the prom and they sit on the chairs around the dance floor. And they will not leave until it’s over. They sit and watch. First, I thought it’s all about finding subjects for the next day gossip. Later, I understood that this is actually a very old tradition. In the past, a young girl’s mother was joining her daughter when she was going to dance. The girl was ready for marriage, but not allowed to have premarital relationships. During the dance, she could dance with boys, speak with them, spend some time, but always under her mother’s control.
When a boy used to take a girl home, the mother was walking behind them. She would allow them a few minutes alone at the gate, but then she would call her in. If a girl was invited to dance by two boys at the same time, she would better not accept any of them, otherwise, the other boy would feel insulted and command her to leave the dance. He would command the music to stop and speak out loud that the girl had to leave. An aunt was telling me how she was never refusing a boy she didn’t like, because she feared he might get angry. Instead, she was accepting his invitation and then dancing really bad, just to fool him that they weren’t compatible.