August 22, 2008

Myths and the Transylvanian Saxons

Transylvania, and Romania are both places where myths and legends seem to grow as well as the history and culture of the people who live there.  Not to mention Dracula,  or the famous castle in the area (Bran Castle) which is something some people I've talked to say they never heard of until they came to North America, but then there are the wolves.

Take for instance, the myth of werewolves. They are not really part of the Transylvanian Saxons culture but they are part of the Romanian and Hungarian cultures, which shows how unique and different each of the peoples of Transylvania are. The one thing all three had in common was they all held firm to the belief in the werewolf existed.

I am certain that the Saxons of Transylvania did so as well, but they wouldn't admit to such a thing. Having come from parts of what would become Germany, they saw themselves as hardworking and practical.  The towns and cities bore this out, and even the castles that they helped to build. 

Most people do not like to be told that they are wrong, and this is true with this community.  There is a strong oral tradition which has been passed down over the centuries.  However, when asked, many of the people commented they had never heard of Dracula, but had heard of werewolves and the myth of the man turning into wolves.


Werewolves somehow began to fascinate me- because they are part of many culture's myths and legends, but each one is different. Maybe it is because I like the horror genre, and how Romania came to become the centre for "Gothic" life, or rather its castles and Dracula, the myth, have become interwoven with modern Romania- or Transylvania. 
Maybe the culture in which I live doesn't help me much, again most of these people consider themselves practical and  don't adhere to myths or anything of the sort.  Part of that was a bit of a lie, or a hidden part that people didn't, and wouldn't talk about. I found myself in a disconnect with people from the Saxon areas since they do not look to these myths as something to talk about.


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