Anuarul Muzeului Etnografic al Moldovei – IV / 2004


The village of Tarlişua, in Transylvania, is the birthplace of one of Romania’s most important novelists, Liviu Rebreanu, who was born there on the 27th of November 1885. Shortly afterwards, Rebreanu’s parents moved to the village of Maieru, in the Bistriţa-Năsăud district. It was in Maieru and the surrounding villages that Rebreanu first came into contact with the folk customs and oral traditions of the Năsăud region, which he used in his masterpiece novel Ion. Rebreanu died without ever returning to the village where he had been born. Had he visited Tarlisua, he would surely have been captivated by the beauty of the place and the richness of the traditions preserved across generations of villagers living at the foot of the Tibles Mountains, and he could have used, in his writings, the oral culture of his native village.

Today, folk traditions in Tarlisua are dying, a phenomenon which can be noticed in a large number of Romanian villages across the country. The older generation struggles to preserve them, but the young generation, fascinated by the modern way of life, considers them outdated and neglects them. For example, weddings in Tarlisua are now very different from what they used to be: the bride and the bridegroom no longer wear the traditional costumes, and the ceremony has been greatly simplified and has been contaminated by kitsch. This phenomenon, which started in the early nineties, is growing rapidly in parallel with the spread of a secular way of life.

The present study documents the traditional wedding ritual in Tarlisua as it appears in descriptions by performers who used to take part with enthusiasm and joy in this important event in the life of a Romanian village. The paper presents the stages of the ceremony and emphasizes local traditions and practices, which may differ from those of other villages. The study ends with a number of ritual wishes and folk verses from Tarlisua.