Monday, December 1, 2008

National Day of Romania

December 1st is Romania's national holiday (sort of like the 4th of July in the States). It's called Ziua Unirii (Unification Day) and commemorates the unification of Transylvania with the Kingdom of Romania, which occurred on this date in 1918. The territories of Bukovina, Bessarabia were also united with Romania at that time, but some alterations were made after WWII. For the most part, however, this territorial rearrangement established Romania's borders as we know them today.

While this date may be a point of national pride for Romanians, for Hungarians it represents something more ignominious. Even now, the transfer of Transylvania is a sore point between Romanians and Hungarians, both groups laying claims on the region.

Decmeber 1st only became the national holiday reltively recently, after 1989 (during communist times, the national holiday was August 23, commemorating the overthrow of Antonescu's fascist government in 1944).

On December 1st, towns throughout Romania celebrate with military parades, marching bands, concerts and it's common to see flags hanging outside homes and on street lamps. This year was the 90th anniversary of unification, and Lugoj set off some fireworks (pictured above).

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