Folk Traditions


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Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree. - Ezra Pound 1885-1972

The following lead to a wide variety of resources dealing with folk traditions in Romania.

The Little Peoples Theatre *

This group was started by a group of English volunteers working mostly in Eastern Europe who saw that by performing simple plays with children & working with them to develop their own, that they became healthier and happier "little people".


Customs, Crafts, Arts, Costumes

Following, after many years, the steps of Brancusi who was taking to the world the experience of the Romanian folk culture, but in the opposite direction, that is, from the European West to the island of Eastern Romanity which is Romania, a reputed traveller, Giulio Carlo Argan, expressed his admiration for the genius of the folk creator: '...What interests us to find that which may constitute the fertility of a folk ethos. From this viewpoint, Romania, which, as far as I could see, boasts the largest folk art in the world, is a country that may play a major role in the development of tomorrow's art'.

This enthusiastic appreciation refers to the important stock of works preserved in specialized museums, in reserves 'in situ', but it mainly highlights the living character of the folk creation, the uninterrupted existence of the folk artist since immemorial time to the date. Actually, in spite of the changes brought about by time, and especially by this century, governed by modern technologies, in all the regions of Romania the folk craftsmen continue to exist, to build up houses of wood, to shape the gates of their households into triumphal arches, to make their tools and objects necessary to the household, (even if objects co-exist today with those industrially manufactured), they making pottery, painting on wood and glass.

There are handicraft workshops in numerous centres all over the country and women still weaving loom. The existence of these workshops has allowed, along centuries, for the preservation and continuity of crafts, handed down from father to son traditonally: pottery, carving in wood and stone, embroidery, painting, processing of metals and bone, egg painting, weaving of vegetable fibres. The study of folk art has multiplied, along the years, the modalities of examining and interpreting the ancientness, continuity and originality of the Romanian ethnic culture.
In direct agreement with the formal balance, with the composition of space, the chromatic range of the folk artist is based on harmony, understood as a peaceful passage from as a science of maintaining certain coloured surfaces in a state of peace. The costume, the textiles, the other categories of objects in the folk art breathe a sobriety of the colour, with nuances sometimes invested with symbols. The range and dosage of hues are used to create 'signs of age', as is the case of the red-black combination in the costumes of the inhabitants of Padureni (Hunedoara County), of Maramures and Oas. In this costume, the red diminishes with the age of the person wearing it, finally being replaced by black. The stylistic variety of the Romanian folk costume is infinite, always other in each zone. But all this variety of form holds a basic common trait, so that no matter from which zone the costume, anybody can immediately recognize it as Romanian. On Trajan's Column (3rd century A.D.) in the Roman Forum in Rome, the Dacians on the bas-reliefs bear the costumes of today's Roamanian peasants. When about century ago, the inhabitants of the eternal city saw Badea Cartan (a peasant from Transylvania who walked all the way to Rome 'to see his ancestors') sitting, clad in his national costume, under the Column, they excalimed: 'A Dacian climbed down from the Column!' It was a homage paid to a people that had preserved, along millennia, its customs and traditions, its cultural being. The following lead to a wide variety of resources dealing with folk traditions in Romania.


The Little Peoples Theatre *

This group was started by a group of English volunteers working mostly in Eastern Europe who saw that by performing simple plays with children & working with them to develop their own, that they became healthier and happier "little people".


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Updated: 1997-06- Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.