October 31, 2008

Transylvanian Saxon Dress: Young Couple

This is what a Transylvania Saxons dress looks like- on both the man and the woman.  This style is often hand embroidered and made for the couple around the time of their confirmation into the Lutheran Church.  These would be worn on Sundays and special events
This is a married couple so the woman wears a cap which is embroidered delicately.
Though this is a younger couple, the older women would wear this as well, but would also wear a handkerchief around the cap. The day wear was different and not as intricate.

October 29, 2008

The Long And Short Of Fear

One thing about interviews and people....


I can understand memories which are hard to deal with, but I suppose one can deal with certain events much better if they understood what helping means.

But than again we live in a culture that is gorged with fear that we will simply lose our history in fear that we might offend someone....

How about this what if we do and then save ourselves in the process? Is not knowledge power?

And then we do not hand it to our children?

This is the myth that the Saxons have right now, they expect their culture to survive without telling their stories.


The greatest myth ever told.

October 26, 2008

Is There Anyone Who Cares?

I held an especially moving interview with a gentleman form the Transylvania Saxons.

I try to quote his words as best I can

"We survived for almost 800 years in tiny communities and adapted. We kept our culture our language and our religion, and yet, now, I wonder does anyone really care if we survived at all? I do not have that answer as I now identify myself as a Canadian-- this being the same with many people, from Transylvania. Yet at heart i am still a Siebenburger Saxon. Does anybody care? I do not know"

It is harder to talk to people who lost so much to tell me about their lives, and often I wonder if what I am writing will make a difference, but I am sure that yes, people do care. People will care.

October 20, 2008

Transylvania and Germany

You Tell Me:

What do you know of the links between Transylvania and Germany? ( Especially during World War Two)

October 17, 2008

Count Dracula, Werewolves And Other Questions

There are many questions most people have when it comes to Transylvania, Romania and the legends surrounding it.

Who was Count Dracula Based On?: Count Dracula, the fictional title character of Bram Stoker's Gothic horror novel, Dracula, was based on a real person Prince Vlad III Tepes, of Wallachia, who would impale his prisoners and other political rivals, he was born in Transylvania but he would rule in the neighbouring principality of Wallachia, which was at the time a part of the Ottoman Empire.  Unlike Count Dracula, who traveled to England, Vlad and his younger brother were sent to the seat of the Ottoman Empire as a "gift" to the Sultan from their father.

Vlad would become cruel and use similar methods of torture on his enemies that the Turks used on theirs.  In the end, the stake would become his trademark— and Stoker would use this as a means to kill a vampire.

What were werewolves and were they important to Transylvania?: A legendary creature of the night.  There are many stories which says that a person once bitten by a werewolf will become on in the full moon, believed by some members of Western Europe though some people of Transylvania have claimed to never having heard of them.

Most of the communities who lived there had seen and knew of packs of wolves, so it is unlikely that they hadn't heard of some type of legendary creatures. The natural animals of Romania would have been legendary all on their own.

Where there more than one large group of people who were not Romanian or Hungarian in culture?: Yes, in Transylvania besides the large populations of Romanians and Hungarians there were Germans (known as the Saxons, or the Swabians in other areas outside of Transylvania) and Roma populations.  There were also many who were Jewish and who lived in large communities in Transylvania.

October 15, 2008

Dancing In The Moutains

Something which i learned over the past while is that the arts played a special part in the lives of the Transylvania Saxons.

Dancing and Eating.

I think it is possibly because to enjoy the people around you, there needed something for them. The men had beer and wine and the music bands, the women had their needle crafts.

But there was dancing.

The Saxons managed to keep it part of their lives along with their songs and a certain love of hard work and life.

I think dancing became their way to leave the hard work behind. It served them well as they are creative in many forms. it worked well.

Keep Dancing

October 14, 2008

Travel Times

It is hard to believe that most of the roads in Transylvania are not as good as the roads in Canada. But then again drive Highway 1 and you'll get a good idea.

In Transylvania many of the roads are paved and well kept for tourists. This is the important point. For Tourists.

The rest are gravel or dirt, and are not as accessible by car. In some pictures which I've seen are the villages in the Northern part, and some in the south where the center of the village road looks well, okay a potholes with roads type affair.

Then some don't have roads which are pave merely a gravel road. That since the early 1990s seem to not been fixed.

Perhaps it is because the land is largely inaccessible and largely since many of the people live in the larger cities in the area and the smaller villages are overlooked due to the Communists drive to make huge common houses int eh large cities and tearing down the smaller villages. To help grow and build "large cities"

That all ended in 1989. But, the villages are still hard to come by and have few basic needs met. Just as it was in the early part of the century.

October 10, 2008

Lives Remembered

I find it apt to talk about lives which people remember. Especially those of the Second World War many of whom died in the transition of people leaving home and to a new place. Of soldiers who died and no body found, yet.

To me the greatest myth is the myth that everyone who is not "big" does not lead a life extraordinary. They do. To their family, friends and neighbours.

The myth which broke for me was the simple act of interviewing family members for their memories of the people who died during the Second World War.

I found myself amazed at how much people remembered of a nineteen year old brother, a father, a young son. A forty Year old father. Men who died and pictures which though faded held so much more.

Their lives are remembered after all.

The best is the memorial to some of them which was found in Germany. So many stories and so many lives, and Transylvania found a way to honour her sons.

The best reality of all.

October 8, 2008

Little Lives Lost

Transylvania held so many people. Many of them worked as farmers and craftsmen and other "small" trades.

They lived hard lives and simply wanted to live and work and hope for a better life for their children. This often did not happen...

What did was many children some who would die and some who would live. Many women married young and the men would work in the farms or the cities and pay high taxes.

Such ran the life of the people who lived without much education or many rights.

Many people forgot them after a few years after they died. Yet they still created a life for their children and grandchildren and generation after.

In many ways much like it is today and much like ti will always be... yet...

many of the cultures of Transylvania are being lost because the Hungarians and Saxons and other groups left.

More memories and lives lost.