The beautiful country that is Romania can also boast of a strong cultural heritage. This culture has emerged as a consequence of its distinct geographical features and its eventful history. It is a Latin country, where the flavors of the Roman past are still evident, but on the other hand, it follows the Orthodox Church.
Romanian culture displays the telling influence of both Classical European and Oriental cultures. It is also a country, where pastoral traditions have given birth to a rich and down to earth popular culture. The centres of evolution of urban culture in Romania were churches and the royal courts. Urban culture of the early years generally dwelt around discourses on religion, morals and justice in the monasteries and courts. In the early years of the 18th century, Dimitre Cantemir earned great renown with his writings on the Turkish Empire.
Traditional culture was already vibrant at the time, and an example of the rich folklore of Romania is evident in the ballad “Miorita”, which is taught in junior school to enlighten young Romanians about their cultural heritage. The story is deeply rooted in Romanian belief in destiny. It is about three shepherds, two of whom turn against the third out of envy. They even planned to kill the third shepherd. He gets to know of the murder plot from a magical sheep in his flock, but instead of taking steps to save his life, he gets reconciled to his fate with stoic fatalism. The only wish he has is that if he is done to death, he should be buried in the meadows to be forever in proximity with his herd and his loyal sheepdogs.
Romanian culture was also enriched by the cultures of various races that ruled over the country down the ages. It has been a cultural melting pot, where elements of Roman, Hungarian, Austrian and Turkish influences are clearly visible. During the 19th century, students from Romania used to visit France to study at universities in that country. Consequently, there is some French influence on Romanian culture.
Romanian culture is also spread across the population of the country. Chances are the person on the street will accurately recite from the works of their national poet, Mihai Eminescu. They could possibly relate the plays written by Ion Luca Caragiale, the most renowned of Romanian playwrights. Romanian society of the time with its absurd pomp, noisy hypocrisy and widespread corruption was captured brilliantly by the sardonic pen of Caragiale. His literary works have stood the test of time. They seem even more relevant today, particularly in the context of present day politics in Romania.
Then there is Ion Cranega, the master storyteller in the genre of children’s literature. He penned the famous book called “Childhood Memories”, a classic which is a must read for all Romanian children. It is said that all young people can find a bit of themselves when they read this universal book for children.
Literature is not the only arena, where Romanian culture has shown its prowess. Romanian genius has made its mark in fine arts and performing arts as well. Painters like Nicolae Grigorescu, sculptors like Constantin Branusi and musicians like George Enescu have been the toast of the connoisseur and the layman alike. Georghe Zamfir has cast a spell over the world with the sound of his pan flute.
The god fearing people of Romania are proud of their cultural heritage. They make every conceivable effort to keep this heritage alive among future generations. They make sure that Romanian children imbibe this culture from their early days, whether in the form of folk ballads that their mothers sing softly as they lull the babies to sleep, or the classical arts and literature that the young ones are taught at school.