• RCI USA

Wrap-Up: "Geographies of Tradition"

Updated: Jan 18




One of our most popular online series, launched at the height of the pandemic, was dedicated to traditional feasts, rituals and customs on both sides of the Atlantic. Titled "Geographies of Tradition" and developed in partnership with two important Romanian ethnographic museums, the program was meant to explore mirroring Romanian and American celebrations.


The opening of the new series, in February 2021, was placed under the aegis of love: its first episode, presented together with the National Museum of Romanian Peasant in Bucharest, examined the origins, meaning and parallels of the Dragobete and Valentine’s Day.


Two customs, one meaning: the celebration of love

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The next episode, produced in partnership with the National Museum of Romanian Peasant in Bucharest and the Ethnographical Museum of Transylvania in Cluj-Napoca, centered upon ceremonies heralding the coming of spring. In many cultures, the vernal equinox, celebrated on March 20, signals nature’s renewal and symbolic rebirth, giving people a reason to rejoice through different spring festivals, rituals, and rites. We invited our followers to discover how these new beginnings are welcome in Romania and the United States, and where the customs and beliefs overlap.


Mărțișorul, Baba Dochia and the American Spring Holidays

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In the 3rd episode of the series, presented in partnership with the National Museum of Romanian Peasant in Bucharest and the Ethnographical Museum of Transylvania in Cluj-Napoca, we highlighted the complex beliefs and customs associated with Easter in Romania and the United States and explored how this most sacred date in the Christian calendar is observed by Romanians and Americans.


Easter for Romanians and Americans

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In the 4th episode of the series, produced in partnership with the Ethnographical Museum of Transylvania in Cluj-Napoca, we hailed the summer solstice and its associated festivals with a video exploration of the magic of Sânziene, observed in Romania on June 24, and its American counterparts. Although exact dates vary among different cultures, these holidays primarily fall close to the symbolic start of summer. The celebrations predate Christianity and have existed under different names around the world, highlighting traditions linked to nature, love, and fertility.


The Sânziene vs. Midsummer

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In the 5th episode of the series "Geographies of Tradition", presented in partnership with the Ethnographical Museum of Transylvania in Cluj-Napoca, we paired the most famous American holiday, Thanksgiving, with Romania’s Harvest Festival. While they differ in their specific traditions, the popular celebrations of the abundant gifts of earth and hard work betray some unlikely similarities and are awaited and lived with the same trepidation on both sides of the Atlantic.


The most famous American holiday, Thanksgiving vs. Romania’s Harvest Festival

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For the 6th and last episode of the series, also presented in partnership with the Ethnographical Museum of Transylvania in Cluj-Napoca, we chose a bunch of tales full of mystery and haunted spirits. Celebrated each year on October 31, Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in the United States after Christmas, and its roots point to age-old European traditions with all their cohorts of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, and donning costumes. No less popular, its Romanian counterpart comprises a larger spectrum of holidays associated with the afterlife or honoring All Saints, but they can be as mysterious and sometimes frightening as the Halloween.


Day of the Dead, St. Andrew's Eve and Halloween

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