The Multicultural Transylvania Festival returns to beautiful Biertan village this weekend

Oana Vasiliu 18/08/2023 | 10:53

In the heart of Transylvania, a vibrant celebration unfolds, encapsulating the essence of unity amidst diversity. The Multicultural Transylvania Festival, which is held August 18-20 in Biertan, harmoniously blends ethnic elements from the region, conveying a powerful message of inclusion. This gathering, though briefly paused during the pandemic, now returns with renewed vigor, offering a fresh format that promises an array of enriching experiences. From workshops and hiking expeditions to gastronomy contests and traditional performances, the festival captures the spirit of community, culture, and cooperation. Business Review talked with Stelian Burduhos, Advisor to the Mayor for Tourism and Local Gastronomy for Biertan, to find out the story of a festival that transcends its own boundaries to paint a vibrant tapestry of traditions and togetherness.


What is Multicultural Transylvania Festival for those who aren’t familiar with the concept?  

Multicultural Transylvania Festival is the celebration event of our commune, in which we try to include all the ethnic elements of our region and send a message of cooperation, inclusion and diversity. This event has stopped during the pandemic and we are now trying to bring a new format and look to it, with a more complex format that includes different workshops for children and adults, two hiking trips on the Via Transilvanica tracks from our commune, a Local Farmers Market, a diverse entertainment program with artistic moments from different ethnic groups, 2 local gastronomy contests and a play and relaxation area.

Stelian Burduhos, Biertan
Stelian Burduhos, Biertan


What role does the local community play in planning and executing this event in their village?  

We are happy that there is a local volunteers group of around 30 persons, teenagers and adults, that are involved in the design of the event activities and that will be actively involved with different tasks during the event. The local producers are also an important part in promoting and supporting the event. There are also teams of locals that will participate in the gastronomy contests with slow cooked food and traditional home sweets that will be available for tasting for the event visitors.

In what ways does the festival highlight the unique traditions and customs of this Transylvanian region?  

The event promotes the unique traditions and customs of this Transylvanian region through the products in the Local Farmers Market and also the craftsmen will have live demonstration on how they work. The stage numbers include traditional dances and songs from Saxxon, Romanian, Hungarian, Roma, Armenian,Ucrainean cultures.

What economic benefits does the festival bring to the local community and businesses in terms of tourism and increased activity?  

All our local economic operators have direct positive impact on their businesses, courtesy of the event and also the yearly cultural agenda that we have promoted since spring, having increased demands for accommodation and separate available activities. According to our records, the weekend is almost fully booked for accommodation and the festival played an important role. 

Can you provide insights into the community’s sentiments about the influx of tourists during the festival? How do they perceive the visitors’ interest in their culture?  

Our local community in general is very familiar and open to the tourists that come in relatively high numbers in our commune. We see this sector as one of the most important in the development of our commune and in this regard we have finalized at the beginning of this year a complete vision for tourism development and a strategy to make it happen. We are now engaged in a branding process and different projects that involve the feedback and direct involvement of the community.

Biertan-(c)Colinele Transilvaniei - Daniel Secarescu
Biertan-(c)Colinele Transilvaniei – Daniel Secarescu

Have there been any instances of cultural exchange between the tourists and the local community? How have these interactions impacted both sides?  

The tourists that visit Biertan are always positively surprised by the quality of the interactions with the local community in different activities, from staying in a traditional house, tasting, and discovering the local gastronomy, hiking with a local on the beautiful hills, visiting our fortified churches and learning about the rich history of our area. At the same time, they exchange insights with our community and in the last years a lot of them move here and become part of the community and become active in different areas. This definitely has a positive impact on both sides, providing an unique experience for the visitors and a wider understanding of other cultures and sources of inspiration for our community.

How does the festival contribute to the broader understanding of Transylvanian history and its significance in the region’s cultural tapestry?  

The entire cultural program and activities are designed to showcase elements from our Transylvanian history and show the new elements that enrich our region.

Can you share stories of individual villagers who have taken a particularly active role in the festival’s planning and execution, and how it has impacted their lives?  

The teenagers that are our volunteers are very eager to be involved in all our activities during the year and we can see a shift in their perception, increased confidence and a desire to contribute. The festival is a more complex setting and it is a very good opportunity for them to experience event planning, coordination of certain activities and teamwork, valuable skills in their future.

Biertan, Transylvania
Biertan, Transylvania


What sustainable practices are in place to manage the environmental impact of the festival and its growing number of visitors?  

We are encouraging all our vendors and visitors to reduce their plastic waste as much as possible and we hope in the next events to put a reward system in place for the visitors that use the same cup for drink refill and other elements. The decoration of the event area will be done mainly with natural materials.

How does the festival encourage the younger generation in the village to engage with their heritage and traditions, ensuring their preservation for years to come?  

During the event we will also have groups of children from our commune that will be dancing and are prepared for this in order to keep the traditions and have a better understanding of heritage. The local gastronomy contest is also a way of supporting the awareness on the role this plays in our culture and why this attracts visitors to our area. The traditional houses painting workshop also is designed to give a better understanding to children about our local architecture and why we are an UNESCO site and the importance of preserving it.

The complete schedule for the event is available here.

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