There are a bunch of soldiers marching around in the main square visible from my window. It seems they are rehearsing for Thursday. I’m not quite sure why they need to rehearse marching since it seems a fairly straightforward activity, but anyway, what do I know.
Tomorrow is, as you may know, December 1st. Unless you are Romanian or live here, you may not know that it is also the National Day of Romania. I mentioned it last year. Now recently, in the comments section of another post I wrote, someone called Albinel (near the end) commented that he could never vote for autonomy while people in this region didn’t celebrate December 1st. This struck me as odd, and I’ll attempt to explain why.
December 1st is the country’s national day. If it were merely that, then it should obviously be celebrated by everyone. But the reason it is Romania’s national day is that it celebrates the “unification of Romania” in 1918. Now the other side of that coin is that it is the day when Transylvania ceased to be part of Hungary. In effect, while it is a celebration of the creation of modern day Romania, it is also a celebration of the destruction of what used to be Hungary. So, as you might imagine, Hungarian Romanians are not that enthusiastic about celebrating it. In fact, it would be weird for them to celebrate it, and this has nothing to do with any lack of patriotism or anti-Romanian feeling. If the national day in Romania were timed at and billed as the celebration of the signing of the constitution for example, then it would truly be an inclusive celebration. If it were a day celebrating the overthrow of the Ceausescu regime, then once again, it would include all groups of the country. But celebrating the addition of Transylvania to Romania, while perfectly understandable as a Romanian celebration, is never likely to be a celebration for Hungarians.
I discovered today, to go on top of this, that there’s actually a law that you have to celebrate December the 1st. Which means that the government (or whichever government wrote that law) knows full well that it’s not very inclusive, and that people are going have to be coerced into feeling Romanian. It’s not a law that gets obeyed much, if my observations last year are anything to go by.
One final thing. Military parades. What’s that all about? Do people (I mean real, normal, regular people) get a kick out of military parades? Do people think to themselves, “Hmmm, there’s a military parade going on this afternoon, I mustn’t miss that.”? So who are they parading for? It’s either for the commanders who can feel good about how much mightiness they have at their disposal, or for the people that this army might be one day employed to subjugate. “Look,” they are saying in their curious goose-stepping body language, “don’t try anything people, or we will be forced to march on you.”
Now I don’t actually think that the army will be marching in downtown Csikszereda tomorrow just to make sure that the Szekelys don’t rise up, and that it’s more to do with half-arsed tradition, but it seems to me that someone could at least ponder this for a while, and wonder whether or not it might be seen as provocative in any way. In the meantime, I have to say that for a group of people who have more or less nothing to do except march, they’re remarkably bad at it. They’ve been practising all day and they still making mistakes.
But anyway, I hope all my Romanian readers have a good December 1st, and enjoy your nation's birthday. You can have Csikszereda's piece of cake.
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 1
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