1. Eating vegetables and salads on Christmas Eve
Romanians love traditional food — think lots of pork, in all its glorious forms — for Christmas dinner. Traditional does not include many vegetables. Just before Christmas, there are even public campaigns on television and radio advising people not to eat too much meat during the holidays. While the Romanian housewife is preparing the national dish sarmale, minced pork stuffed in stewed cabbage, she smiles, knowing full well that all these campaigns are completely useless.
2. Fake-breasted girls in a car their sugar-daddy bought for them
Young Romanian girls, often starting in high school, are mesmerized by old, rich men who buy them expensive cars and houses, and make them VIPs literally overnight. Romanians follow the old proverb “Never forget where you come from,” and being bought for your beauty and youth is generally looked down upon. Romanians love to gossip about and condemn the newly rich women while waiting at the hairdressing salon, at the doctor, or while attending some fancy parties or public events.
3. Orthodox cathedrals and churches
The Romanian Orthodox Church has created a terrible reputation for destroying little neighborhood parks in order to raise huge, imposing churches, and many Orthodox priests have recently been accused of fraud, greed, and corruption. The huge Cathedral of Romanian People Salvation started in 2011, and the building of this cathedral has generated many public protests and even international critics. Often, when a Romanian passes by an opulent Orthodox church, he will express disgust.
4. Staying in a queue
Endlessly waiting on line is a traumatic experience most Romanians had to endure during the Communist period, so nowadays waiting in a queue for anything such as bread or fruit at a grocer is a reminder of that dark period. Romanians hate waiting so much that you will find big banners in the supermarkets displaying this message: “We know time is important to you. That is why if you are waiting in a queue more than five minutes, while there are some cash registers that are not opened, we will give you 5 RON.”
5. Celebrating Valentine’s Day instead of Dragobete’s Day
Every year there is public debate about why we Romanians don’t value our traditions, and so easily adopt foreign holidays that have nothing to do with Romanian culture. Ethnographers, writers, and journalists express their anger about Valentine’s Day, suggesting that all lovers should instead celebrate our Romanian protector of love, Dragobete, who is believed to be the son of a legendary woman, Dochia, and the equivalent of Cupidon. The public holiday of Dragobete has been assiduously promoted, so there are parties, concerts, and youth gatherings in clubs. Still, every Romanian knows that flowers smell nicer and chocolate candies taste sweeter on Valentine’s Day than on Dragobete.
6. Saying “Hello” in Hungarian and not in Romanian
This is unforgivable for any Romanian visiting Székely Land, a region in the middle of the country where the majority of the population is Hungarian. Romanians had to deal with many attempts of secession on behalf of the Hungarian minority, who claimed autonomy in the regions where they form the majority of the population. Some nationalist politicians have increased this fear between the Romanian population, so there’s no wonder why Romanians feel the passion of nationalism running through their veins.
This passion for hating the Hungarian nationalists has inspired many jokes that Romanians love to tell at different gatherings and parties. This mutual hate is at its highest when the Hungarian football team comes to play the Romanian national team. This year the supporters who came to Romania from Hungary expressed their hate by throwing large quantities of trash out of the train windows all the way from Hungary to Bucharest. Romanian supporters do the same when they go to Hungary to support the Romanian football team, so the hate is clearly mutual.
Photo: zorislav stojanovic