The Macedonian Minority In Romania

Declared population at the last census: 695 according to the 2002 statisticsEstimated true population: over 15,000 Inhabited territory: the South of Romania, especially Oltenia and big industrial and urban areas Population in the rural/urban areas: 60% in the urban areas, 40% in the rural areas Short presentation of the Macedonians in RomaniaThe earliest documentation of the Macedonian community in Romania dates back to the 1330's, in Papal documents, close to what is now Timisoara, a village founded by an army captain. The Macedonia settlement in the Timis County is a village on the left bank of the Timis River founded by Macedonian families, who settled there during the reign of the house of Arpad. It appeared under the name of Machadonia in the Papal tax documents between 1332-1337. The first document attesting a Macedonian on present Romanian territory is that of Nicodim of Tismana (1340-1406) born in Prilep, Macedonia. He came from Mount Athos with other monks, Macedonian and Romanian, and it was with their help that he built Tismana, Prislop and Visina monasteries. He is the father of monasticism in Oltenia. He was canonized in 1767 and he is celebrated on 26th December. Over the years, there were several waves of migration provoked by economic, social, religious or political reasons in the area, or in the neighbouring countries. The most recent was post-1940. For over 2000 years, emigration or exodus were two of the different shapes that the fight for survival took for the Macedonian people, who are peaceful and crave for freedom. Many Macedonians looked for freedom and a place where they could live peacefully and find honest work, especially at the north of the Danube River, in the free and independent Romanian territories, whose population was well-known for the goodwill and hospitality with which they welcomed newcomers. Since long ago, Macedonians came to Romanian territories as a result of military operations and business, or as workmen and labourers for shorter or longer periods, or as refugees in war time, when, fighting the enemy, they were overwhelmed and forced to leave their ancestral homes. Depending on the historical moment, the Macedonians who came to Romanian territories arrived from Serbia, Bulgaria or Greece, countries which had occupied Macedonian territories, or from the Ottoman Empire, after the Ottomans had conquered the whole Balkan Peninsula. They migrated to the north of the Danube River because of the persecutions of the conquerors. Main religious celebrations Main religion: Orthodox The most important religious celebrations, rendered in the Slavic, of Orthodoxy are: Bojik – the old Russian calendar, on January 7th, Nova Godina – the New Year, the old style, on January 14th, Veligden – Easter, Spasovden – the Ascension (40 days after Easter), Mladentsi – All Saints' Day, March 9th, Ilinden - St. Elijah, August 2nd. Other important religious celebrations are the same as the important ones of the Orthodox calendar. Relevant traditions, crafts and customs As far as crafts are concerned, the best known traditional ones are: pottery, sheep breeding, metal work, woodcraft, church building in wood or other materials. There are a variety of traditions and customs related to the passing of the seasons or to the most important moments in one's existence as regards the Macedonians' life. Their celebrations require special costumes, specific rituals and typical music. For instance, there is a traditional feast called the Jabolko (the Apple, in Slavic); it celebrates the abundant autumn and coincides with the end of the apple harvest. People get together, they hang apple branches, decorated with red and green ribbons, in their homes. For the occasion, bushels with apples and apple pies are prepared and, in them, people hide coins. It is said that those who find them will have a rich year. Water is essential in every community's life. Building a well and putting it to use are events of great importance, worth celebrating. As it is essential for life, water is also worshipped for its symbolic significance in rural and agricultural life. Thus water is the key element in the ritual called "The Ceremony of the Liberation of Water". The ritual begins two weeks before the well is put to use, and it consists of cleaning and draining the well. A week beforehand, three young women wearing traditional Macedonian costumes start carrying three yokes three times a day: at sunrise, midday, and just before sunset. For five days, from Monday to Friday, the women are followed by three young men ("the witnesses") who record each yoke's passage by notching an apple twig. Early on Saturday morning, these six young people perform this ritual, then conclude "The Ceremony of the Liberation of Water". In three positions around the well, they light candles and walk around the well burning incense. The three women then pour into the well's drain the exact amount of water they had carried there the previous days. The water is poured through a piece of unspun wool, "to purify it", and over a bar of soap, to "wash away sins". The witnesses testify that the young women have indeed carried to the well the correct quantity of water, and the women then break the notched apple twigs. During the entire ritual, candles are arranged in the form of a cross over the well's entrance to signify the supply of water also to the dead of the community. The ceremony is emblematic of continuity, perenniality and immortality, and intended to ensure a supply of fresh, clean water to quench the thirst of the living, as well as the dead, of the community, and to be a symbol of prosperity, for without water there is no harvest. As a conclusion, a group of priests blesses the well and then all the inhabitants of the neighbourhood are invited to partake of the water. Among the beliefs of Macedonians in Romania is the one that, on Easter Day, it is forbidden to sweep or to throw rubbish away. Macedonians also eat an aromatic herb – "schinduf" – with their red painted eggs, as the Easter traditional food or meal. All Saints' Day in Sevastia, "Mladentsi", is important for the Macedonians who live on Romanian territory. "Mladentsi" is a reference for the Macedonians whose ancestors settled in Romania hundreds of years ago. Sacrificing for their beliefs is celebrated now by Macedonians the same way their ancestors used to do it. A traditional defining element for them is the "bradostii". These are nothing else but dough cakes representing the 40 saints. They are covered in honey and ground walnuts and they are made by the eldest and wisest woman. The dough for the "bradostii" is made of bread dough (wheat flour, salt, water and yeast), which is left to rise after it has been blessed with the sign of the cross. The dough is made and left to rise only in willow-wood bowls. After it has risen, the dough is made into 40 equal parts. From these the "bradostii" is modelled into the shape of a human body with head, legs and hands. In the Macedonian community, "bradostii" must be made only by women who have given birth to children and brought them up. The ritual of "bringing the bradostii to life" is only performed by the woman who has made the dough; she does it by drawing a face and clothes on them. Some generations ago, when the "bradostii" were taken from the oven, green twigs were put in their "hands" – they represented the army of God fighting for their beliefs and defending their creed. At present, the Association of Macedonians in Romania produces a monthly magazine "Macedoneanul – Machedonetot", of general interest, and two others "Jenata na tretiot milenium" ("The Woman of the Third Millennium") and "Detata na tretiot milenium" ("The Child of the Third Millennium"). All publications are bilingual. Poetry books have also been published (Mihnea Vladescu – "The First Poems", Marina Vlad Docea – "The Reality of the Supposed Truth", Delia Mihai – "God Is Taking His Angles Back" and a monograph by Constantin Cislaru – "Banditry in Oltenia"). The Macedonian community and association have a website: The Association of the Macedonians in Romania, has also made a CD with Macedonian traditional music interpreted by Mihnea Vladescu and is contemplating launching another CD with Macedonian traditional music interpreted by Loredana Pascu.

by Anonymous