Romania is rich in folklore and traditions. However, most of those who travel to Romania’s big cities aren’t aware of the folktales and traditions embedded in the country’s culture. That’s probably because most traditions have been born in the countryside and are not that strong in urban Romania.
Reviving Romanian traditions
But in recent years we have been witnessing a “back to the roots” movement, where old traditions are revived and made “popular” again, often with a modern twist. One of these traditions is the “ruga” typical of the Banat area. An interesting initiative meant to revive this traditional event is the Electroruga music festival that will take place in early September (1st-2nd September) in the village of Buzad, which is about 50 km away from Timisoara.
But to better understand the Electroruga festival, we should first understand the “ruga”:
What is the “ruga”? A “crash-course” for foreigners
In the Banat region, each village or town hosts a yearly celebration of the “ruga” or “negeia” (the name varies according to what part of the Banat you are in). This coincides with the celebrating the anniversary of the local church and the church’s patron.
But the “ruga” or “negeia” is much more than a religious celebration. The event has a religious origin but has evolved over time into a social event, a celebration that involves the whole town or village.
The “ruga” usually lasts 3 days with religious sermons on each of these days. The evenings are marked by a big gathering with music, dancing, and drinks. Traditionally, locals prepare thoroughly for the celebrations. They clean their homes and prepare food and drinks for their guests. Because the “ruga” is the perfect opportunity for the family to get together – often, relatives and old friends visit to join the celebrations.
What is even more interesting is that, traditionally, the whole village contributes to the organizing of the event. Donations are made by all the villagers to hire a folklore band. On each of the three days, the locals wear their best traditional outfits to the evening sermons. The celebrations, with music and drinks, start immediately after the sermon is over.
The “ruga” or “negeia” used to be the most important event in the village life. It has unfortunately lost its significance as the younger population has slowly moved to big cities. Banat villages still celebrate it, but the “ruga” has lost some of its former glory in many places.
Upgrading the “ruga” for 2018
Which brings us back to the topic of reviving traditions. This is more or less what Electroruga wants to do. Electroruga is an electronic music festival that will take place on September 1st and 2nd in the village of Buzad, about 50 km from Timisoara.
This interesting initiative is planning to reinterpret the tradition of the “ruga” with a modern twist: the “ruga” is a popular social event in traditional village life, as are music festivals in our urban lives. So why not combine the two and see what happens?! This is how Electroruga was born.
The festival is only in its infancy (we haven’t even seen the first edition yet), but we think it has potential (hence we are writing about it!). The festival mixes “modern” electronic music with the wish to support local traditions:
- the festival wishes to support the local community by offering the locals the opportunity to sell their products at the festival.
- The organizers have introduced the concept or “ER BNB” (pun intended) – festival-goers will be able to find accommodation with the locals.
- the villagers of Buzad can attend the festival for free.
This all sounds very promising and we love the fact that the festival is trying to combine the “old” with the “new” to create an original event, all while caring about the local community.
We look forward to enjoying this “out of the box” festival and we’ll keep you posted with news about it!