Multiculturalism and Traditions in Sibiu
History and Multiculturalism
Sibiu has a long history back on its tracks. Since 1191, when the village “Villa Hermani” was firstly mentioned in documents, the city has developed into a true centre of multiculturalism, with three main coexisting nations living under the same roof. It was actually founded by Germans who moved to Transylvania under the reign of the Hungarian King Geisa the IVth and was considered one of the most important medieval cities, because of its defence walls and economical development.
Although the Romanians living in that time were only tolerated by the german and hungarian people, the relationships between them began to better after the First World War, when Transylvania became part of the Romanian state. Therefore, there have been plenty of influences in the evolution of traditions from Sibiu, which include elements from every nation combined to establish a whole. Everything from dances to eating habits lies in syncretism.
What characterizes every aspect of our current local society is the liberty to communicate among ourselves, although we come from different cultures. The fact that these three nations have a history together makes it easier for them to bond: there even exist German and Hungarian schools where the majority of students are Romanian. These want to study a foreign language just like their own and are willing to approach a different lifestyle on a regular basis. A tourist would take great advantage of this fact; he would probably find someone who can break the language barrier and respond to his questions or doubts.
|A traditional german dance performed in the courtyard of the german High School "Samuel von Brukenthal"|
Romanians have a tendency of letting people find their personal history out. We like to welcome tourists by inviting them to taste our national dishes and we appreciate every compliment one makes us. Sibiu is famous for its local cheeses and a cake called “Lika”, and it would be a great idea to promote these local products more, perhaps under the premise of a festival in order to gain some more popularity. That way both the tourist who visits our city gets to taste our local specialty and the local cheese producers get to sell their products. With a few of these strategies, a lot could be improved in the field of tourism.
Even under the impact of two very important empires, the Romanians have managed to preserve various traditions, which can be currently seen in a region right outside Sibiu, called “Mărginimea Sibiului” (the Edge of Sibiu). Here shepherds have been living in peace and harmony, growing animals and practicing their crafts for centuries.
Aside from their quiet lifestyle, the locals still wear the traditional holiday costume and try to hold on to it for as much time as possible. It is an honor to possess something as special as a 200 year old vintage piece of clothing and one is appreciated for such a thing. The wonderful and elegant clothes embroided in black and white stand out on Sundays and for holidays, in church or on the streets, with doublets and waistcoats which flourish in the sunlight with their sil-wove decorations.
The most important traditions from the Mărginime are rediscovered during the winter holidays. ”Young men’s carols” and the “ Young men band”, traditional dances such as “Calusarii”, “ Braul” and “Sarba” are unique. These celebrations last for 12 days, from Christmas Eve until Saint John, on January 7. The carols, one of the most ancient Romanian traditions, start with children’s songs and later are sung by the young men bands, who embody the Bible’s wise men.
There are also typical rituals when people choose to get married or when they die, but these are too beautiful to be described in simple words. A tourist needs to see these traditions in order to understand their deeper meaning, and that is why we invite you to take a look for yourself.