Friday, October 17, 2014

Hram in Căplani

Tuesday was Hram in my village! Hram is a celebration that each town/village has sometime during the year. The date is based on (I hope I'm getting this right) the patron saint of the town, as each saint has a day on the Orthodox calendar. This means that occasionally villages will share dates - Hram in Măgdăcești was the same day as Hram in Stauceni and Molovata and probably others, as September 21 is a day of a popular saint (the Virgin Mary, I believe? It's impossible to figure out which Orthodox calendar is the one they use here, so I don't even know which saint is for Căplani). So Căplani's Hram was actually the same day as Chișinău's! I think my host mom asked if I wanted to go up for Chișinău's, but I definitely wanted to stay in the village to see the celebration here. 

We had been discussing Hram for the past two weeks in the weekly Primaria meeting, and both times they mentioned the căruţă and asked me whether I'd like to ride in it - obviously, and the mayor had known this already for quite some time. The căruţă is just a cart pulled by a horse - I don't know why I'm so obsessed with it and people use it for real life and work and stuff, but I just think it's the greatest. So naturally I wanted to ride in one. 

I had the day off and after lunch I heard a knock on the door - it was the mayor! He took one look at me and said, I'll give you 5 minutes to get dressed. In my defense, I was absolutely dressed. All I had to do was put on a sweater, but tank tops are just really scandalous apparently. 

We went to the House of Culture and there was the căruţă! With men in national costume decorating the horse and everything - my one regret in life is that I was really awful about taking pictures so there aren't any.. It got dark eventually and then I regretted it more because the mayor "took" a bunch of pictures but I can 100% tell you that he doesn't know how to use a camera so I don't think any actually exist. There's always next year? 

Anyway, a woman ushered me into the House of Culture and dressed me in costume too! I did manage to take a selfie after she left the room, because, duh. 

I stood outside the House of Culture for a while (looking fantastic, obviously) waiting for the men to come back, as they had left to get more decorations (and probably wine) because waiting on a woman is virtually impossible, as you all know, so they had to start without me. 
Casa de Cultura decorated for the evening

Then they picked me up and away we went! No one spoke English, and I said very few words the entire time, but we (a few men, one boy about 16, and two girls younger than the boy) went all through the village inviting people to Hram. This consisted of bringing them a shot of wine and some cookies/candy and occasionally some shouting and banging on a broken drum. They knew we were coming, because most houses had another jug of wine to share with us, more candy and cookies, and even real food at some. 

The inside of the cart - complete with a bunch of corn and a jug of wine
Whenever we saw people I knew, they were very pleased that I was there and dressed up for the occasion. We even went to one of the rutiera driver's houses and he gave me wine and said, you were on my bus! When? Yesterday? Great! So I'm pretty excited about that.

The young boy would push the girls forward and say, look, we have ladies too, and even a foreigner! He was quite confident in all that he did and it was adorable. Even though I was the foreigner. Nici o problema. It was a lot of fun to ride through the village, especially when we went to the side I had never been to - we went up the hill and you can see the whole town from that side! So pretty, and I'll definitely be walking up there later. 

The gypsies dancing
We eventually made it back to the center of town where many many people were gathered (we had told them to come, after all) for dancing and fun. There was a gypsy show, which everyone was really excited about. We had a masa at the Primaria (before AND after dancing) and it was a lot of fun! Well, until I got tired and my host mom didn't want to leave. I may have gotten a smidge cranky, but overall it was a pretty good time. I do think I may have danced with the man who had had THE MOST to drink, and it just happened to be the longest song in the history of the world, but I got over that too, and eventually we went back to the house and went to bed. 

There were many more people after dancing - I think we kind of sneaked in for our first round

Here's hoping my next căruţă ride is sooner than a year away! I'd really like it to be my main form of transportation, if possible.....

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