When talking to a Romanian, the phrase ” we have a proverb for that ...” comes up frequently.
In the beginning I didn’t react so much to that, as most cultures have their own proverbs, that are expressed in colloquial speech and mirror the local spirit of a community.
However, with Romania and the Romanian culture I discovered something more, after scraping on the surface. I discovered a country that is highly spiritual and this spirituality is expressed in many beautiful ways in modern, everyday life!
You can feel the energy, especially when going to the countryside and visit a Romanian village. People there have a strong connection to the soil, through their day-to-day work in the field. They live slowly and follow the rhythm of the day and the season. Those people also believe in God, and things that science can’t always explain, such as clean the house with white sage smoke. They believe in the synchronicity of things that happen in life and things that were meant to be.
With the belief in God also comes the routine of going to church every Sunday, to listen to the liturgy, and be part of the community.
The priests, whom I have been listening to, spoke about everyday life challenges, morals, values and the cultural identity of Romania. They spoke in ways that addressed each and every one of us, and I believe that stressed, modern people could benefit greatly from the spirituality of the Romanian orthodox church.
The stillness of the church offers a moment to slow down and listen inwards. The tranquil setting of the church invites us to connect to acts of love, kindness and unity. Many people, in urban areas, lost connection to their spiritual self and wonder about with their values being destroyed, from a fast paced life full of distraction. There is a lot of soul searching in our world today. Many are confused as values are being erased or challenged.
In the Romanian church there is the habit of standing up while the priest speaks, and that can go on for quite some time. The standing up part nurture stamina, endurance and posture. I like that a lot. The church and its traditions come with celebrations and ceremonies that add authentic beauty to our lives.
So, we have the proverbs, the rural life and the beauty of the Romanian orthodox church. Moreover, the Romanian culture is rich in stories and those stories display values and good habits. These are of great importance still today.
The stories speak through the Romanian blouse with its symbols, that represent a language in itself. The stories speak through the patterns of the rugs, the symbols of the spoons, the illustrations of the ceramics, the icons, and many, many more.
The Romanian culture is extremely rich and takes one straight to the essence of things where the soul breathes. Compared that to cultures being suffocated. Global multinationals suffocate cultures worldwide by trying to have us buy the same things from the same shops. We need to hear and feel the culture of our own ancestors and encourage that instead.
When going to an artisan market in Bucharest you are sure to be set up for a story telling session. There you will find items with a soul, items that were man made. Items with ancient stories. How much more valuable is that, than a factory made product !
Romania is indeed a spiritual country. The stories, legends, myths, proverbs, art, and people all live and breathe this spirituality which creates a deeper meaning to life.
It would be wonderful if this rich culture could be shared more with the western world. Romania has been waiting for too long. The time is now for the western world to re-learn from Romania. To remember about authentic, slow, and meaningful living. Romania has it all through its spirituality.
Thank you all story-tellers and artists that came my way !
by Yvette Larsson, guest writer