TRIP INTO THE TRADITION THROUGH THEMATIC DANCE
Once a year, Cerna Valley becomes the valley of the national and international folklore grace to the Hercules International Folklore Festival from Herculane Baths. In the three days of the festival, the songs and dances from all over the world meet cheerfully and with the tradition of every country from where the participants come. The 42 editions of the festival featured dancers from 17 countries from three continents: Europe, Asia and North America.
The festival begins with a parade of the folk costumes, starting from Hercules’ Statue, through the Historic Centre of the resort and up to the resort’s Modern Centre. Here, every day of the festival, on the stage of the Outdoor Summer Theatre in Vicol Park, the ensembles of folk songs and dances present one or more thematic dances in which the artistic act becomes “a stunning and spectacular journey” proposing to every spectator, every tourist to discover the history, customs and traditions of a nation.
The motto of the festival is:
Everything passes slowly towards tomorrow,
Man and Dream and Flower,
Remaining only our longing
And friendship among peoples.
The passion for the dance and the colour of the costumes give the tone of the festival. Follow the theme of every Banat ensemble, from the “Sorocul” of the Banat plains, from Timis County and the Carasean Plain, to the Banat’s “Căluşarul”.
The Căluşari dance of the Gugulans, with the bailiff in the middle, is a unique dance that does not resemble to the căluşari dance from Oltenia. The steps are smoother and the melody is slower. Twelve men represent the months of the year and dance around the bailiff, who embodies the sun. The Gugulani căluşari embody the dance of the universe and of the world, telling its story. Every dancer, representing one of the months of the year, has a certain step. A certain rhythm. Their footsteps describe the seasons, from the frost of winter to the unleashing of nature in the summer months, followed by the tempered autumn loaded with fruit. How can you describe the seasons by dance? Perhaps this miracle is possible for a nation who, not being allowed to write, had to find a different way of communication. This is the “writing” of those descending from the Dacian nation: dance and rhythm. The lyrics of an old song in the area are so suggestive in this way:
“When my man dances with me, is just he is writing with pen on paper.”
You remain stunned in front of the dance of the Gugulan căluşari. You perceive it ancestral and familiar, wild and refined, through the simplicity of the steps and the rhythm. Learn the fairy tale steps.
The folk costumes worn by the dancers of the Mountainous Banat folk ensembles participating in the festival are “an open window” to the hearts of the tourists. They have preserved their originality and their ancient beauty and you can meet them especially in the Almaj Country, in the Gugulan Country and along the Danube Shore.
The beauty of folk costumes brings a note of celebration and joy in the hearts and eyes of every viewer due to the great richness of motifs and colours. Beside the way it is tailored, woven, sewn and adorned, there are always feelings and experiences of the Banat peasant expressed through the refined colours, through the perfection of “work” and the harmony of the decoration in which the ancient geometry combines with the new floral motifs.
The women’s costume is individualized by the opreg (apron) with the “chite” and the “ceapsa” (headgear) turned into a head ornament. A special note is brought about by the ceapsa from the Danube Shore with rows of beads and coins. The girls in the Gugulan Country are distinguished by the string of gold coins worn around the neck and those on the Bistra Valley with the breastplate engraved with “shapes of wheels and moon”. The siupag or traditional shirt, called ia, decorated with black “boards” on the sleeves and chest reflects the taste for balance and measure of the Banat women in every aspect.
The men’s costume is distinguished by the discrete work of the white shirt, with small collared patches on the sleeves and collar, with black, blue or grey waistcoat in the mountain areas, and white ones in the plain, the fur cap on their head and the long fur coat on their shoulders.
Only in the Herculane Baths touristic area, on the borders of Banat with Transylvania and Oltenia, you will feel authentically the “kiss of love” from the two Romanian folk songs and you will experience the feeling of “delight and torment”:
Ana (Banat – Ardeal)
(Bard: Ioan Bocsa)
Măria (Banat – Oltenia)
(Bard: Tudor Gheorghe)