Romania: Welcome to the Days of Brasov!
The Junii Bid Thee Welcome!
Photo : Johanna Engebjerg Englev
Colors, parades, music, men on horses, beautiful costumes and a week full of fun, dance, shopping and nowhere near enough time to see everything! That is what this week has meant for everyone in Brasov, when The Junii, The Young Men of Brasov, kicked of the end festival of their celebrations, after the Orthodox Easter.
The City has truly been packed with people! Piata Sfatului, also commonly known among the volunteers as just “The Square”, has been more than usually crowded with happy Brasovians, which says a lot considering how many people gather there on a normal week-day.
Junii Brasovului, a feast or festival unique to Brasov, takes place every year the week after Easter and culminates in a big parade and a party. Everywhere go during this week, you would stumble across either a ritual (maybe in the manner of a dance or a song), a fair (like the flower fair in the square), or just a happy citizen taking the opportunity to promote a charity or business cause. That also includes the dressed up Jack Sparrow making balloon animals for the kids on Strada Repuplicii!
Furthermore, if you wanted a nice stroll on the pedestrian street, you should have chosen another week. Small parades of traditionally dressed up people, advertising their various shows and smaller festivals, like the medieval festival in the Citadel, walked up and down the street, playing their music and dancing their dances. It has not been a boring week for sure!
The Junii, or roughly translated to English: “The young men of Brasov” are the descendants of the old, real Romanians who lived outside the gate of Kronstadt (As the old city center was once called, when Germans inhabited these parts) in the Schei-quarter of the city. Every celebration, every ritual, every song and every dance is performed by a man (or men), whose ancestors walked among the original Romanian neighborhood outside Kronstadt’s main gate: Catherin’s Gate. The Junii festival celebrates, the Dacian new-year and the beginning of spring.
And how they do it! Horses dressed in all kinds of colors (traditional colors of course), matching the rider and his role in the parade, each outfit marking the group to which he belongs. Because the Junii are not just a big group of dressed up people. Each man belongs to one of seven groups, each wearing costumes more spectacular than the other. From the young unmarried men, Junii Tineri, who wear a simple black jacket with a red flower in the breast pocket to the sparkling older groups, which all wear impressive gowns of countless colors and fabrics, you can see it all. Brasov is indeed a city of culture, and if you are looking for the time to really take in these still vibrating traditions, then the Days of Brasov is a perfect time to come!
I have again and again, during my time here, been surprised by the enthusiasm and involvement the normal citizens of Brasov show when it comes to nursing these traditions and this week has been no exception. Nowhere else have I seen such joy among the people. Seeing them laugh, barter, sing, chat and dance through the chaos of this week really is what makes the entity of Brasov. And what makes this city a very special place.