(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not an official Fulbright Program blog; the views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas in Romania

During the Communist era Christmas carols were banned. Our Romanian friends tell that during the Communist era, they would go down to their basement, cover all the windows, and softly sing Christmas carols with their family members.
The Opera had an annual winter concert, where they could play 'winter songs,' but not Christmas songs. In 1980, Dumitru Farcas closed the concert with an arrangement of a traditional Romanian folk carol, "O, ce veste minunata"  (O, what wonderful news).  Everyone in the theatre stood while he played; no one sang for that was illegal.  But it was the first time the carol was played publicly in 30 years.  He got in trouble, but because he was a well-known performer, he was not imprisoned.
When Communism fell, the Opera invited Mr. Farcas to play "O, ce veste minunata," which he has done every year since.  We attended the annual Christmas Concert at the Opera.  When Dumitru Farcas came on stage, the audience gave him a standing ovation before he even played.  
Here's a YouTube video of Stefan Hrusca, a Romanian folk singer, performing it:
'O ce veste minunata'

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