Folklore and traditions
Hospitality is a hallmark of the residents of Pridnestrovie.
Each village of Pridnestrovie honours a certain saint who is their patron saint, and people celebrate the Temple of the village/town. On this day, all houses are cleaned, tables are set and guests are invited. Each village prepares its own local dishes.
Due to its multi-ethnic composition, a mixture of Moldavian, South Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Jewish cuisines prevails in Pridnestrovie. Housewives in the villages of Pridnestrovie prepare delicious dishes: corn grits, cabbage rolls, traditional sausages and pies, meat jelly, local cheeses and many other dishes. The national drink in the country is wine.
For example, on one of the favourite holidays of the residents of the village of Parcani – the temple holiday, which falls on November 21, according to tradition, all villagers rush to St. Michael’s Church. They celebrate the holiday by serving traditional Bulgarian dishes, among which banitsa is particularly loved. The history of the origin of banitsa goes back to the distant past. Since the 11th century, the literature mentions banitsa or mlina as the most delicious Bulgarian invention.
The preservation and enhancement of cultural heritage is one of the priorities of Pridnestrovie. Historical and cultural heritage is the most objective evidence of the past and present, part of the material and spiritual culture created and preserved, transmitted from generation to generation, affecting the consciousness and self-consciousness of people, allowing contemporaries to touch and feel their involvement in the cultural traditions of their people.
24 folklore groups in Pridnetrovie specialize in various genres (vocals, choreography, instrumental ensembles, etc.). They perform in the languages of the people living on the territory of Pridnestrovie (Russian, Ukrainian, Moldavian, Bulgarian, etc.). Mainly folklore groups that preserve the traditions and rituals of the peoples living on the territory of the region, predominate in rural areas: Slobozia, Grigoriopol, Dubossary, Rybnitsa and Kamenka districts.
The development and preservation of folk culture, the study and dissemination of spiritual values are reflected in folk art. To preserve the cultures of the peoples living in Pridnestrovie, permanent craft rooms and corners of folk life in cultural institutions of Pridnestrovie have been created.
Expositions of Moldavian folk culture and life “Casa mare” reflecting the culture of Moldavian people have been created in Kamenka district in the Houses of Culture of Podoima village and Grushka village.
In the Palace of Culture in Rybnitsa, the centre of national Moldavian culture is the premises of the national amateur collective of the ensemble of the Moldavian folk song” Busuioc Moldovenesc”. The room is decorated in the style of “Casa mare”. Not just rehearsals are held here, but the history of the Moldavian national culture in Pridnestrovie is studied. Also in the Palace of Culture, there is a room of the national amateur group of the Ukrainian folk song ensemble “Barvinok”, where the history and songs of the Ukrainian people are studied.
In Dubossary district in the House of culture of the village of Coicova, there is an exhibition of household items of Ukrainian culture “The room of the household”. In the village of Doibani, there is a collection of objects of everyday culture of the Moldavian and Ukrainian people, called “Casa Mare”. In the village of Roghi, there is a corner of traditions and crafts of the Moldavian culture. In the museum of local history and lore in Dubossary there is “Casa mare” exhibition, a Moldavian corner from the first half of the XXth century, as well as the exhibition called “Folk crafts and souvenirs of the second half of the XXth century”.
In Grigoriopol district, in the Houses of Culture of Hirtop village, Malaesti village, Butor village, expositions of popular Moldavian culture and life “Casa mare” were created, where there are items of national life and culture of Moldavian people of 18-20th centuries.
In the town of Slobozia in the District House of Culture, there is an office of the People’s Folk Group “Dragaica”, decorated in Moldavian national style “Casa Mare”. In addition, Moldavian culture can be found in the Houses of Culture of the village of Korotne, in the office of folklore collective “Dorulet”, in the village of Caragas and in the village of Frunze. The house of culture of Parcani is famous for the exhibition of the Bulgarian culture and life “Gulyama kashta”. Here you can be acquainted with Bulgarian culture, traditions and rites.
Pridnestrovie is rich in artisans, craftsmen and masters of a wide variety of handmade products, such as wood carving, embroidery, ceramics, weaving, straw products, cooperage, knitting – and this is just a small part of what Pridnestrovian masters can present. Today, in the towns and districts of the region there are more than 60 artisans, specializing in folk art and presenting their works at mass holidays. Cultural departments of towns and districts are responsible for supervising issues related to cooperation with masters.
In the culture of Pridnestrovie, traditions, rituals, crafts, forms and genres of arts of the peoples living in the region are closely intertwined in a bright variety. The increased interest of citizens in the origins of the national culture of Pridnestrovie ensures the continuity of stylistic and performing traditions and is expressed in the preservation of customs and holidays in the towns and districts of the region.
List of traditional festivals:
– Festival of winter and New Year rites and traditions “Florile dalbe” (“Christmas meetings”) is held in the village of Caragash of the Slobozia district in January.
– Contest of customs and rites of peoples living in Pridnestrovie “Spring of traditions”. This competition is held in December, bringing together participants of folk art activities (circles, studios, groups), including folk masters of decorative and applied creative and fine arts and artists whose creative directions are quite diverse;
– International art festival “Martisor”. It is traditionally held from March 1 to 10. All cities and districts of the region host various bright events at different scales: concerts, mass festivities, performances, various master classes, greeting events, exhibitions of books, decorative arts, fine arts, photo exhibitions, etc.;
– Open district festival – competition “Din zestrea neamului”. It is held annually in the Grigoriopol district within the framework of the closing of the International Festival of Arts “Martisor” on a certain theme, aiming to preserve and popularize spring and summer customs and rites of calendar and family holidays, to develop Moldavian folk culture. This year it will take place on the 10th of March;
– The regional Easter festival “Sfinta-i masa cea de Paste” in Dubossary. Creative teams of Dubossary district and the town of Dubossary, as well as guests attend the event from all Moldova who are engaged in the study, preservation, development and popularization of folk customs and rituals. Within the framework of the competition program, dishes of national cuisines and exhibits of decorative and applied art are presented;
– Folk Art Festival “In accordance with the folk traditions of the Pridnestrovian region”. It will be held on June 6, 2020 in the park named after A. Nevsky in the Bendery Fortress, as part of the events to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. Guests of the Festival will have a chance to see workshops on teaching folk crafts (carving, weaving, pottery, embroidery, carpet weaving, blacksmithing, etc.), a demonstration of the rites and customs of the multinational population of Pridnestrovie;
– Summer festival marathon “Kamerton”. Every year in the park named after Wittgenstein in Kamenka, during the 3 summer months, concerts and themed holidays, including folk festivals, are held every weekend. These events demonstrate the identity of folk groups and invited artists;
– Mass folk festival “Ivan Kupala”. Every year it is held on a large scale in Kamenka and Slobozia districts in order to maintain the old Russian folk traditions. A traditional round dance, concert programs, and exhibitions accompany it. The beginning of the holiday is accompanied by a theatrical action: a cart drawn by horses in festive harness goes into the village. On the cart, there are participants of amateur art groups in national Ukrainian costumes. They invite everyone to the holiday. Folk games and competitions are used during the celebration. All participants dance around the fire, singing Kupala songs. At nightfall, the girls put wreaths in the river; the boys catch the wreaths in the water and invite the girls to dance. The holiday ends with the burning of willow wood and young people jumping over the fire;
– Festival of tomatoes “Podoima Podoimitsa – tomato capital”. This festival takes place in the village of Podoima, Kamenka district, and demonstrates achievements in the field of tomato breeding and seed production. The festival includes a fair of agricultural products, an exhibition-competition of traditional dishes, a children’s drawing contest “Tomato fantasy”, a master class “Plant diseases, prevention and methods of their treatment”, mass celebrations, etc.;
– Open folk art festival “Igrai, garmon! “ (Play, accordion) is held annually in September in Ternovka village of Slobozia district. Accordion players, folk groups, ensembles of folk instruments attend the festival;
– Festival of winter customs and rites “Hai zurgalai, rasuna Nistru mai! Hey! … Hey! … Hey!”. The festival promotes folk customs and rituals of the village, the native land and takes place in January in Dubossary. The translation from Moldavian is “the bell rings over Dniester”. The festival features New Year greetings in Russian and Moldavian, which were performed in the old days by folk groups.