A Guide to Transylvania by Nicky Rea

By Nicky Rea

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Sample text

Above the main gateway of the citadel looms the Clock Tower, where a procession of wooden figures (one for each day of the week) emerge from the belfry each midnight to mark the inexorable passage of the hours. Below the Clock Tower stands a small, twostory house. In this house in 1431, Wad, the second son of Wad Dracul, was born. Also located in Sighisoara are a number of churches, including the thirteenth century Church on the Hill, with its covered wooden stairway (added in the seventeenth century) which counts 175 steps a s it winds up the hillside.

Dancing is done around a plugusor (little plow), yet another symbol of fertility. The performance of the capra on New Year’s Eve is intended to bring fertile crops and good fortune for the whole of the coming year. The calusari is said to be one of the most difficult folk dances known. It certainly requires a great deal of cooperation among the dancers as well a s unflagging stamina. In the past, the calusari had a ritual significance, but by the 1890s, though the dance has remained popular, virtually no one knows what it was.

Once a widespread celebration, by the 1890s it is practiced only in Transylvania. On the appointed day, the girls of the village go into the fields, weave circlets of flowers and throw them over the roofs of the cottages. This is said to bring good luck to the people of the village. The Harvest Festival is a great occasion in village life. Based on ancient rituals, and intended to insure that each farmer would be able to successfully bring in his crops, the festival is a time of shared work and rejoicing.

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