Getting the mood for love in Romanian tradition

Newsroom 22/02/2013 | 11:25

The Romanian Lovers’ Day, Dragobete, is celebrated on February 24. For both those in love and those looking for it, here are some of our suggestions for the most romantic time of the year.

The “Grigore Antipa” National Museum of Natural History in Bucharest is celebrating Dragobete with surprises for couples in love. These can fill out a questionnaire and enter a drawing to win a set of albums containing pictures and information about special pieces in the collection. The winners will be announced on the Antipa Museum Facebook page on Monday, Feb 25.

The “Dimitrie Gusti” National Village Museum invites you to love the Romanian way on Dragobete Day, as part of the “Youth Celebration” series of events. Children will be welcomed by Zurli Theater and “The Bear tricked by the Fox”, as well as The Merry Jester, Tandala and Ileana Cosanzeana. The “Dragobete Kisses the Girls” photo exhibition will be on display at the “Gheorghe Focsa” Exhibition Hall, an event organized together with the Bucurestiul meu drag Association. “Who could hate love?”, is the question that the traditional folk music performers Maria Butaciu, Maria Bandoiu, Constantin Bahrin, Alexandru Patrascu, Gabriel Dumitru and Rodica Anghelescu will address to the listeners, bringing the joy of music and dance  to us all. Tudor Niculescu Mizil teaches romantics how “Love … on guitar strings” is, as he performs classical instrumental pieces, while actor and singer Daniel Fat invites us to listen to ”Love Ballads”, emotional ballads. The actors from Mask Theater will perform “Romanians on… Dragobete”.

Radio Romania Cultural will celebrate the Romanian Lovers’ Day with a music and theater marathon. The voices of Clody Berthola, Fory Etterle, Tanti Cocea, Alexandru Giugaru, Elvira Godeanu, Dem Radulescu, Grigore Vasiliu Birlic, Ion Lucian, Valeria Seciu, Victor Rebengiuc and many more will therefore be the stars of Romanian classical and contemporary dramaturgical excerpts from “The Twelfth Night” and the “Merry Wives of  Windsor” by William Shakespeare, “The Last Night” by Alex Tocilescu, “The Marriage” by N. V. Gogol, “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell, and “The Romantics” by Edmond Rostand.

Music lovers can also listen famous love film themes (Love Story, Romeo and Juliet, Roman Holiday, Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Doctor Zhivago, My Fair Lady, Wuthering Heights, City Lights, Singing in the rain, Breakfast at Tiffany, Shakespeare in Love, Titanic, Out of Africa, The English Patient, Memoirs of a Gheisa, Pretty Woman, Ghost, Grease, The Notebook, The Bodyguard, The Beauty and the Beast, Indecent Proposal, Dirty Dancing, Armaggedon…).

Great opera voices will also be heard (Kiri te Kanawa, Roberto Alagna, Bryn Terfel, Anna Netrebko, Rollando Villazon, Dmitri Hvrostovsky, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti) as well as those of Italian film actors and actresses from the ’60-’70s (Renato Carosone, Sophia Loren, Dean Martin, Domenico Modugno, Mario Lanza, Claudio Villa, Flo Sandons, Rino Salviatti and Nilla Pizzi).

What is Dragobete ?

The legend says that Dragobete was the son of an old lady called Baba Dochia, a traditional symbol of Romanian mythology who marks the return of spring. Academics consider Dragobete a Romanian god of love.

There are a number of Dragobete customs in rural areas: some believe that those who take part in Dragobete customs will be protected from illness for the rest of the year; in other parts of Romania, married women must wash their faces with snow so that spring finds them joyful and strong. If a young girl will eat salty bread baked by the eldest woman in the household, then place some basil under their pillow, she will dream her future husband, if he will bring her water in the dream.

Oana Vasiliu

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