Each year, Moldova celebrates two major holidays during the last week of August. Independence Day is celebrated on August 27th, and Language Day, a celebration of the Romanian language, is celebrated on August 31st. Last year, I attended Independence Day celebrations in Chisinau, but this year I celebrated the two holidays in my village, along with my sister who was visiting from the USA.
This year, my village did a large, combined celebration for both holidays held on the 28th. There was a ceremony to dedicate a new plaque on the side of our casa de cultura (literally, cultural house, but more like a community center), a large masă (celebration with food and wine), various singing and dancing performances, and competitions. The students from the music and dance school in our village performed a routine I hadn’t seen before.
For the first time, our village had a competition of the best cow in the village as well as the best homemade brînză (sheep, goat, or cow cheese made at home), smântână (sour cream), unt (butter), frişcă (cream), various cakes and other pastries, and pâine (bread).
After the singing and dancing had concluded, the boys and men in the village participated in sports competitions. Younger boys competed to climb to the top of a tall metal pole (that we estimated to be about 50 feet tall, at least) the fastest, men and older boys competed in a volleyball game, and boys of all ages competed in a wrestling match. The winner of the pole climbing competition, Vadim, won a live rooster, while the winner of the wrestling match won a live sheep.
It was a lot of fun and a cool celebration of Moldovan traditions and customs. I was really glad my sister was able to go with me and get a taste of a Moldovan holiday and celebration.
Thanks to my sister, Heather, for a few of the photos featured here!