Celebrations and Sărbători

Here’s a quick Romanian language lesson for you…

Sărbători means celebrations (or celebrate).

This week was full of sărbători (celebrations) here in Moldova. On Wednesday. August 27 Moldova celebrated its Ziua Independenți (day of independence). Moldova has been celebrating this day each year since 1991 when they adopted the Declaration of Independence apart from the Soviet Union.

A big sign for ziua independentei posted near the primaria (mayor's office)
A big sign for ziua independentei posted near the primaria (mayor’s office)

Then, on Sunday, August 31 there was another national holiday, Limba Noastră. This celebration is a public holiday observed each year on August 31 and celebrates the day of “our language” which is what limba noastră translates to. As I have noticed and observed, language is an important part of culture here in Moldova and this day celebrates the day in 1989 when they established their language-identity with the Romanian language.

The sign then changed a few days later to celebrate limba noastra
The sign then changed a few days later to celebrate limba noastra

I was at my site in Bălți during both of these celebrations and was able to capture some photos. My only regret is that I didn’t capture more photos or stop to see any of the dancing and singing that was taking place in front of the theatre on both days.

For Ziua Independenți I found myself in the center of town following youth volunteers around with my camera as they gave out free hugs to random people. This was organized by another volunteer here at my site along with her organization, CasMed and my organization, ProCoRe partnered with them in the free hug festivities/promotion.

These are some of my favorite shots from the day, catching them in all their best hugging-action.

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Free hugs, smiles, and matching colored shirts too.
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Give a hug to the balloon guy – guaranteed smiles for all.
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Sitting alone on a bench? Have a hug and a smile!
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The far-away hug coming in for a big embrace – with one of our PCV site mates.
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Most of the group with their “free hugs” signs and smiles.

And then, a couple of shots of people and scenes from around the center of Bălți during the celebration before it rained.

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Baked goods for sale – pastries, placinta, bread… yum!
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This little guy was watching closely as this woman fed the birds.
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Elephant hugs anyone?
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Some dancers in costume heading toward the stage for their performance.
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The crowd gathers to watch the performances at the stage in the center of the city.
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High heels are everywhere in Moldova.

Then on Sunday for the celebration of Limba Noastra, I made my way to the center of the city again. This time to check out all the festivities and to take some more photos. I’ve only included a few of them right now, I may try posting more later on.

Grilling meat at a food booth
Grilling meat at a food booth
The tank located in the center of Bălți
The tank located in the center of Bălți
Many flowers were placed on monuments like this one on limba noastra. Notice the little guy under the monument...? [next photo]
Many flowers were placed on monuments like this one on limba noastra. Notice the little guy under the monument…? [see the next photo]
This pup was tired from the days festivities, sleeping next to all the flowers under the monument
This pup was tired from the festivities that day…  sleeping with the flowers under the monument…
There were a lot of weddings happening in the center of Bălți that day too.
There were a lot of weddings happening in the center of Bălți that day too. (Also a regular occurrence most days)

So now you know a little more about the last two holidays that have been celebrated here in Moldova this week. And there will be more to come – I’m looking forward to it.

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