European Year for Innovation and Creativity

Rumanian identity



How are the Rumanian people? When someone from Spain ask me this question (frequently a relatives or a friend), and after three months of staying in this country, I find it not possible to answer rapidly. I think they are nice and hospitable people. The only thing I can say without mistake is that in Spain, and surely in other countries more removed geographically to this one, we have a very partial idea of the inhabitants of Romania.

Romania exists from 1918, year of the unification of three regions that integrates it: Valaquia, Moldavia and Transylvania. Along its history, the extensive territory that today constitutes Romania has been occupied by diverse civilizations and cultures. His fights against the Ottoman Empire are persistent from the 15th century, emphasizing the figure of the famous Vlad the Empalador (known by his cruelty and personage on whom is based the Bram Stoker’s Dracula). The fights are constant against the neighboring Hungary as well, for the possession of Transylvania and, in the zone of Moldavia, the conflicts with Russia, provoked the final declaration of the Republic Independent of Moldavia and, in Romanian territory, the region of Moldavia.

Probably, the geographical situation of Romania (the country is situated among Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldavia, Serbia, Ukraine and the Black Sea), is one of the reasons of this continuous invasions. Today, in Romania you can observe this historical develop, and the mixture both of cultures and of languages is really present, fact that can be surprising for the visitor who, as me, does not know before the reality of the country.

The population of Romania is composed by Rumanians, Hungarians, gypsies, Germans, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Croatian, Serbian, Russian and Turkish. Transylvania possesses a mixed population composed by Rumanians, Hungarians and Germans. The Hungarians' presence answers to reasons of vicinity, whereas the German one obeys to the politics of the Hungarian kings to establish Saxon colonies to protect his borders. About languages, it can be found places where Hungarian is spoken by the vast majority of the population, and not only in the frontier zone with Hungary, but also in the heart of Transylvania. Of equal way, a series of cities with great prevalence of the German exist in this region, where their inhabitants have a clear Saxon origin.

I don’t know exactly how many languages are spoken in Romania (anyway, it is an information that one can find easily in Internet) but if I look around me, and according to the persons and cities that I have known till now, it can be identified clearly a second language, the Hungarian (Magyar), and a third one, the German. In addition, the companions of Moldavia speak Russian easily, as a result of the Soviet domination in this territory.

The no Romanian ethnic group more numerous is the Hungarians, very conscious of his identity. Besides them, it can not be forgotten the romanía language, spoken by the Romanian gypsies (an important group of the population). With the transition to the democracy from the communist dictatorship, in Romania appeared the problem of the ethnic minorities, with the gypsies in all the country, and with the Hungarians in Transylvania. The above mentioned were grouped in the Democratic Union Magiar of Romania, which passed to form a part of the government in 1996. The central government had to recognize the rights of the minorities in 1994. Nowadays, these different languages seem to coexist in harmony, though the official language of the country is the Rumanian.