Today is the national day of Romania and Bucharest is celebrating as usual. The city is decorated with loads of tricolour flags, red, yellow and blue everywhere. People are out on the streets watching the traditional military parade that passes underneath the Arch of Triumph, the only time of year when traffic is open underneath the Arch. Happy-happy, joy-joy!
It is fun though if you think about the history of this celebration. The main fun-fact consists in the repetitive changes of the national celebration. 1st of December is actually our third version of a National Day. Locals believe in lucky numbers, so hopefully this one will stick around for good. Long story short, the country crossed three main periods of time, that tried to shape completely different identities for the country.
Romania started to exist as an independent country during the reign of our first king, Carol. The Monarchy celebrated the crowning of our first king as a national day, which also coincided with the Independence day and his arrival in the country. So, for trial number one, the 10th of may has been the national day (in between 1866 and 1947, so 81 years of this version). Cool spring celebration!
The monarchy ended when the communist party took over, at the end of the 2nd World War, and Romania had to pick another National Celebration. The communist party exiled the king, and picked 23rd of august as the new National Day, bringing an homage to the alliance with the Russians during WW2. For 43 years the country had a communist version of the national day, from 1947 to 1990.
The revolution in 1989 ended the communist regime. The new authorities changed the national celebration again and in 1990 they went for the 1st of December, which was picked as a reminder of the unification of Romania after World War 1 to its biggest historical size (Transylvania joined together with Banat, Crisana and Maramures). Ever since we celebrate it in the first day of winter and Bucharest always hosts the show at the Arch of Triumph.
… and now some music please!
Too much history, let’s talk about music, we need a soundtrack to this story! The national day isn’t the only thing that changed through the years, the soundtrack of the celebration had to follow the trend because it needed to adapt to each new thematic. It’s a full package, one can't simply change the date and keep the music of an expired age. That is how we changed three national anthems in the process. Our current one being called “Desteapta-te, Romane!”, which in direct translation means: “Wake up, Romanian!”
If your curious to listen to it in the spirit of the celebration, here you go:
Happy amazing years to you, Romania! Make a differenece!