Romanians are known to be warm and kind people, but some things really make them angry. Here are some things that one should avoid saying to a Romanian.
Everybody knows that religion is very important in Romania, most of the country's population being religious people. And it's not hard to see how religious Romanians are: people are making the sign of the cross when passing by a church, massive crowds of people gather at church on major religious holidays, and most Romanians use the phrase Doamne ajuta! (God help us!) quite often. So, try not to question their faith or make fun of it.
Another thing that really upsets Romanians is foreigners talking badly about Romania. There is a paradox here, however. Romanians do complain about their country and say how bad it is to live in Romania, but when a foreigner says something bad about their country, they immediately react. Most of them anyway, and not in a good way. So, try not to say anything bad about Romania.
Also, try not to confuse Budapest with Bucharest. Some people confuse the two capitals, even some famous artists did it. Moreover, last summer, the sports minister in Jersey Island flew to Budapest, Hungary, instead of Bucharest. And things don't stop here: back in 2012, some 400 Spanish Athletic Bilbao football supporters instead of buying tickets to Bucharest, where their favorite team was playing the Europa League final, ended up in Budapest. However, despite all these funny stories, Romanians don't like this mix-up. So try not to enjoy your stay in Budapest, when you're actually in Bucharest or ask a Romanian if he is from Budapest.
One other thing to add to the list: don't confuse Romanians with Gypsies (Roma people). The Roma people are believed to have come from India to Mid-West Asia, and then Europe, some 1,000 years ago, Wikipedia says. Although big gipsy communities have been living in Romania for many centuries, they have never really been fully integrated and accepted as Romanians, unlike other migrants who have blended in with the local population. Maybe because of the bad things some of them do, the Romanians don't like to be associated with the Romani people.
Some of the foreigners who visited Romania also talk about the Romanian hospitality. And yes, the Romanians are warm and hospitable people, and receiving guests into their homes is a very important social moment. In some parts, mostly in the rural areas, Romanians will offer the guests palinca or tuica (a traditional fruit brandy) and then invite them to eat. The Romanian host usually prepares a real feast for their guests, and will want them to try each course and if it’s possible, and eat everything they are offered. So, if it's possible, try not to refuse the food the host if offering you, and finish what's on your plate. Most Romanians feel offended if the guest refuses to eat what they've prepared.
Also, try not to talk badly about a Romanian's family and friends, or his favorite football team. Moreover, try to keep the promise made to a Romanian.
Do you know any other things that make Romanians lose their temper? If you do, please drop a line in the comment box below.
Irina Popescu, [email protected]