Friday, August 17, 2012


We're proud to have had 10,000 views to Two Years in the Making! One of the three goals of Peace Corps Romania is to promote a better understanding of Romanians on the part of Americans. We're proud to say that we've done this and more. People from 65 countries have read our stories. Who knew so many people would be interested in our Romanian adventure?


I'm also gratified that our most popular post, Orange Curtains and Red Pleather has earned us the first page when you google "orange curtains." Try it!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

House of Stone

One of the highlights of our summer was being included at the wedding of Vic and Bianca, part of our adoptive Romanian family. Weddings here are a 24 hour affair and include a lot of traditions. Here are a few.

The wedding day starts with a small party at the bride's house. The bride and grooms' rings are put in a bowl of wheat grain. The grain represents abundance for the couple. The bride and groom search for their rings using their pinky fingers. The one who finds his or her ring first will be the most hardworking of the couple. It seems to me it would be better not to find your ring!

Vic and Bianca find their rings.

In Romania, the bride and groom have spiritual godparents. Our closest friends, Lucia and Cristi, were Vic and Bianca's godparents. In this picture, Lucia is making the sign of the cross while holding a special bread (called colac) over Bianca's head. She then throws the bread in each direction of the cross. This foreshadows the wedding ceremony when the priest will crown the bride and groom. The throwing of the bread shows the bonds between the family and the couple. It meant a lot to me that I was one of the people to whom the bread was specifically thrown.

Lucia throws the bread over Bianca's head.

Sarah catches the bread.

After this first party, the family goes to the mayor's office to make their wedding official. There's another small party there. Then everyone goes to the church for the religious ceremony.

Bianca is crowned by the priest and Lucia, her godmother.

As part of the wedding ceremony, the couple, the godparents, and the priest dance a traditional Romanian dance (horă) around the altar three times. If the bride steps on the groom's feet, she will be the head of the household. If the groom steps on the bride's feet, he will be the head of the household. Bianca stepped on Vic's feet three times! No one was surprised.

When the couple leaves the church, they carry large candles which burned throughout the ceremony.  They extinguish them on the top of the door frame. The goal is to extinguish the candles at the same time, because the person who extinguishes his or hers first will be the first to die. Again, I'm not really sure being first is ideal.

Vic and Bianca extinguish their candles.

Around 9 pm, the reception begins. Interestingly, there's no expectation that guests go to both the ceremony and the reception. It is more common for people to just go to the reception.  It includes a five course meal with dancing between each course.

Towards 2 am, the bride is stolen by friends. (They don't have groomsmen and bridesmaids here.) I seem to remember that my parents were stolen at their wedding, so I'm guessing this custom is also Czech/German/Polish. In order to rescue the bride, the groom must drink champagne from the bride's shoe. 

Vic drinks champaign from Bianca's shoe.

Towards the end of the reception (about 5 am), the bride's veil is removed and replaced by a headscarf. This symbolizes her transition from a "Miss" to a "Mrs." In the countryside, married women still wear headscarves. 

In Romania, they also throw the bouquet, but both unmarried guys and girls can catch it. The bride's brother, Alin, caught the bouquet this time around. He and his girlfriend, Roxana, are considered the next in line to be married. To symbolize this, Bianca's veil was put on to Roxana and Vic's boutonniere was pinned on Alin. We'll see if they're really next!

Alin and Roxana receive their boutonniere and veil. 

Casa de Piatra, Bianca și Vic!