Category Archives: Traditions


Tomorrow, the 48th edition of the the customs and traditions festival, the oldest and most renowned winter festival in Romania, takes place.

If you are in the region, do not miss it! It is a unique opportunity to get a glimpse into the old way of living not only in the villages of Maramureș, but of other regions of Romania which send their representatives to the festival.

This post on the festival of 2014 will give you an idea what to expect.

“Vreu” (“I want”) – in search of love in the Călinești village

A short film shot in Maramureș this summer has already met success, with three prizes already won at three short film festivals – so far!  The synopsis  of the film is centred around love: (from the filmmakers:) In a small village in the North of Transilvania, where everyone is expected to have the same life as others, a young girl dares to feel different. Something, deep down herself, will make her choose another path. Continue reading “Vreu” (“I want”) – in search of love in the Călinești village

The Long Way to the Merry Cemetery

The festival “The Long Way to the Merry Cemetery” is a festival that the Irish national Peter Hurley started in 2010, from his own funds. For those who do not know who Peter Hurley is, he is an Irishman who fell in love with Maramureș, and has spent all his funds to ensure that this region does not fade away because of  the lack of interest from the authorities to undertake anything meaningful to preserve the beauty of the traditions of Maramureș.

This year, the festival celebrates its 7th edition. And it has grown enormously.

The festival starts today and lasts until the 21st of August. You will find more information here (click on logo).

Festival-Maraneaos-Drumul lung

It is not too late to participate! Take the first plane and rush to see it. You will not regret, for this festival captures what is the very soul of Maramureș!

Easter in Maramureș

To understand Maramureș, one needs to understand the role that religion has played in this region throughout history. Just looking at the magnificent century old wooden churches present in almost every village, one can sense how important faith is for the identity of these people. God is omnipresent in the everyday life. The most common greeting that is heard in the villages is “Salutăm pe Isus! (Jesus be hailed!), to which the answer is “În veci, amin!” (Always and forever!).

Among religious festivities, Easter is perhaps the most important, even more important than Christmas. Continue reading Easter in Maramureș

Winter traditions at Sighetu Marmației

I am a year late in publishing this material. Today, the 47th edition of the winter festivities, at Sighet, took place. This post is about last year’s edition.

Every year after Christmas, at Sighet, is held the customs and traditions festival, the oldest and most renowned winter festival in Romania. It is the time when the villages of Maramureș send their representatives to dance, play and sing traditional Christmas carols. The festival was born in 1969 when it was decided that, given the rich heritage of winter traditions in Maramureș,  a festival should be held annually. While many of the local traditions have a profoundly religious meaning, the festival was born as a non-religious festivity, given that under Communism all religious activities were banned. The name of the festival itself carefully avoided any reference to Christmas. The original name of the festival is preserved until today, even if nowadays overtly religious elements are present, such as the Nativity scene.

Continue reading Winter traditions at Sighetu Marmației

Bear dance in…Bucharest!

This website was meant to be about Maramureș. And yet this post is about traditions coming to Bucharest, which is about 600 km away. I’ve started writing about Maramureș, my home county, because there is the place where traditions still exist, but I am very glad to write about all Romanian traditions, in whatever form and place they survive. As you will read, this was a totally unexpected, unplanned for, and thus an exceptionally rewarding experience and I can consider myself lucky to have had the chance to be around at the right time and place.

Continue reading Bear dance in…Bucharest!