The social dances in the villages of the Banat plain were, in past times, mostly couple dances. The Bartók music collections dating between 1912 and 1913 included some dance music, and certain dances were notated by Marcu in the 1960s, but now dancing knowledge for these older dances remains transmitted only within the dance groups and ensembles.
See our web page on Banat plain column dances – Duba, Lența, Desca etc. for a discussion on dance form in relation to the other Banat couple dances. Marcu discusses the dancing at Sunday dances on the Banat plain in past times when three to five dances were played cyclically, one after the other as a suite, for example: Sorocul – followed by a selection from the following: Duba, Bradu, Desca, Lența, Judecata – Hora. Giurchescu lists under her “Type 1 slow Ardeleana” a list of Banat Ardelene plus dances Lența, Șireghea, Duba, Bradul, Desca, Măzărichea. Marcu puts the …read more
Hora is danced at community occasions in the three ethnographic zones of Banat – the Banat plain, Banat hills and mountains. In southern Banat the older dance cycle is typically Brâul followed by either, or both, Hora and Sârba. On the Timiș plain the dance cycles are loosely constructed of Sorocul, întroarsa, Pre loc (De doi), and Hora . The generic Hora from Banat, that is most commonly practiced at events, is documented by Ionel Marcu as Hora bănățeană . The dance name Hora (in Banat) refers to one dance pattern, but two styles of music; a slower more deliberate …read more
It seems probable there was some form of ritual healing căluș that took place at rusali in the Banat region before the popularity of the late 19th century national revival of călușeri. From the very limited information available it would appear that the Banat custom was not exactly identical to the Transylvanian or Oltenian custom. Viua discussed possible links to the southern Balkan Aroman traditions , although there is nothing substantive to support this, however such links are a common underling thread in the Banat hills region. The earliest know reference of a Banat custom dated from 1832 , and …read more
The extent of Kalushari (Călușari) in the more distant past is difficult to assess, although Marinov (late 19th century) documented traditions that took place during rusali in villages in many regions of Bulgaria. From accounts written in the late 19th and early 20th century, when living memories stretched back to the early 1800s it seems clear that Kalush in its ritual form that was practiced in villages in northern Bulgaria was similar to that in southern Romania.
The Căluș ritual takes place during the period of Rusalii (Pentecost) which occurs fifty days after Orthodox Easter, and lasts for seven to nine days. This transitional period from spring to summer is when, according to Romanian and Slav folklore, malevolent fairies, known as iele are at their most active. During Rusalii the villagers were subject to certain work interdictions. They must not clean their houses, work in the fields, or with animals. If they broke these interdictions they could become possessed by the iele which resulted in a mysterious form of nervous illness which could only be cured by …read more
Călușeri, as a group men’s dance for special occasions, was practiced by Romanians in villages in Transylvania in the 19th century, and we can only presume this practice goes further back in history. The development of Călușeri dancing took a parallel path from 1850 which led to a “national” identity portrayed through dance performances. This may well have re-enthused local variants of the old Călușeri in villages where the practice was declining or in the latent repertoire. This page is only to give a hint of Călușeri as a national symbol and popular performance in the late 19th century and …read more
Bufeni is a nickname used for a group of Oltenians that moved to the Banat mountain region in the 18th century to work for the mining industry that was reinvigorated by the Austrians following their acquisition of the Banat region from the Ottoman empire. Before this, during the 17th century, some 13,000 migrants came from Oltenia to work as woodcutters, charcoal burners and coal miners. By 1690 there were some 28 households of Oltenians living in the village of Sasca Română . This period was a turbulent time with changes of authority between Ottoman, Austrian and Transylvanian rulers for much …read more
During the times of the Ottoman occupation, in the 17th to 18th centuries, there were a number of relocations of Bulgarians (both Catholic and Orthodox) to regions north of the Danube. Some relocated further west into the then Hapsburg Banat region, and some subsequently relocated again to modern Bulgaria. During the following centuries the Bulgarians living in a few villages in Romanian and Serbian Banat have maintained their Bulgarian identity whilst those that returned to northern Bulgaria took with them elements of their specific Banat-Bulgarian identity in their costumes, customs, music and dance. There are two locations of origin, two …read more
Asymmetric rhythm dances in Romania Asymmetric or uneven musical rhythms are rare in western classical music, and western rock and popular music, but are not so unusual across Europe in the older forms of traditional dances; the Springar and Polska of Scandinavia, Slovak songs and dances, Albanian dances, Slavic dances from Macedonia, Bulgaria is particularly well-known uneven rhythms, Anatolian dances of Greeks, Turks and Armenians, and Romanian dances and songs. Bulgarian uneven rhythms are formed from combinations of near exact two and three count beats, but wider European dance music is not so metronomic. Even melodies that are not technically …read more