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An all-season destination, Romania boasts amazing nature, secular traditions and crafts and has an effervescent arts scene and some mouth-watering cuisine. And perhaps the greatest aspect of all is you can discover these delights all year long at the country’s dozens of festivals and events. From January to December, be surprised by the beauty of Romania and its warm inhabitants and joyful events that make your trip an authentic experience.
End of January: The Lolelor Parade
A traditional celebration with roots in the Middle Ages, the Lolelor Parade takes place in the village of Agnita. The lole are quirky masked characters who, in the 17th and 18th centuries, accompanied the ritual of handing over the guild box to the new town chief. Today, the parade is opened by the chief of the shoemaker’s guild, accompanied by two children who are symbolic of guardian angels.
The shoemakers are followed by the tailors, the furriers and the coopers, each guild showcasing its crafts. The parade ends with the singing of the Transylvanian Hymn and the lole running in the streets, chasing evil spirits by stroking their whips.
End of February: Balvanyos Pork Festival
An event for the pork lovers who aim to preserve the local traditions of pig slaughter and pork products’ preparation. The event in Balvanyos is also a competition, each team receiving a live pig. It’s then up to the team members to decide how are they going to kill, prepare and cook traditional meals out of their pig. At the end, a big table is filled with sausages, stews, meatballs, terrines and other delicious pork dishes.
Beginning of March: Mărțișor
Mărțișor is a local tradition dedicated to spring arrival. On March 1st, the people give and receive a red and white string with hanging tassels, called Mărțișor. It can be wear as a brooch or as a bracelet, and is a sign of luck and wealth that especially women exhibit all month long.
31st March – 1st April 2018: Timișoara Street Art Festival CheckART
An art festival for and by the young, CheckART is dedicated to all those who love all forms of art. During one weekend, the city is filled with living statues, magic characters, buffoons and levitating statues. The event is part of the application project of the city for European Youth Capital 2020.
Beginning of April: National Easter Eggs Festival
Taking place every year in Kyiv, the event is dedicated to the exquisite art of egg decoration. The festival is an opportunity for both local and international artists to showcase their talent by decorating Easter eggs. If you want the full experience and a chance to really see these exquisite beauties, you can also visit the Easter Eggs Painting Museum, which is just about an hour flight in Kolomyja. The museum boasts an extraordinary exhibition and is worth the weekend trip.
First Sunday after Easter: Junii Brașovului
A traditional celebration, Junii Brașovului are young people who used to live in the Schei neighbourhood, next to Brașov Citadel. The festival re-enacts the juni descending from the mountains on their horses, dressed in traditional clothing and carrying flags, batons and scepters.
End of April: Roman Festival Apulum
In the city of Alba Iulia, ancient history is brought back to life by more than 300 re-enactors, through battles between the Dacians and the Romans, Romanians’ ancestors, gladiator fights, workshops and dances. The festival also includes scientific conferences, exhibitions and guided tours of the old Roman citadel.
For 10 days, Bucharest is home EuropaFest, an amazing music festival that’s a unique mix of jazz, blues, pop and classical music. More than 300 musicians from 40 countries play live concerts, creating an authentic atmosphere. The event also includes jam sessions and master classes of flute, piano, clarinet and violin. An event for everyone who is passionate about and appreciates great, live music.
25th May – 2nd of June 2018: Transylvania International Film Festival
The largest international feature film festival, TIFF, is the most prominent film-related event in Romania, aiming to promote cinematic art through outstanding films from all over the world. International figures like Sophia Loren, Geraldine Chaplin, Jacqueline Bisset and Catherine Deneuve have taken part in the festival organized in Cluj Napoca. The event focuses also on film making education through workshops and educational platforms.
8th – 17th June 2018: Sibiu International Theatre Festival
A spectacular arts celebration, Sibfest features theatre, dance, circus, movies and music, all presented through amazing performances. The event supports the development of performing arts in Romania as well as creative experiments carried in theatre schools and independent theatres. Local and international artists gather at Sibiu for this arts celebration that attracts thousands of culture enthusiasts.
End of June: Jazz in the Park
Jazz in the Park is about soul music and friends hanging in a hammock in the Central Park of Cluj or on the Someș Riverbank while listening to fine music. The festival includes concerts, exhibitions of the Art University’s students and artistic performances in the streets of Cluj. For one week, the city is brimming with jazz lovers in a nature and music celebration.
Closest Sunday to Saint Elijah celebration: Maiden Fair on the Găina Mountain
The ‘Maiden Fair on the Găina Mountain’ is the oldest and the biggest traditional celebration in Romania, taking place in Avram Iancu’s village in the Apuseni Mountains. What used to be a matchmaking festival, where young women came with their parents and their trousseau, searching for a husband, is today an authentic celebration. The festival starts with the local women playing at tulnic, a local music instrument, and is animated by folk shows and ceremonies.
18th – 22nd July 2018: Electric Castle Festival
A festival mixing a historic location with all-night-long electronic, alternative and rock concerts, the Electric Castle Festival is one of the top European music festivals today. Artists like Die Antwoord, Gramatik, Rudimental and Parov Stelar Band are gathering festival-goers from all over the world at the Bánffy Castle in Bonțida.
Beginning of August: Beer Craft Festival
An entire festival dedicated to Romanian craft beer, the event is organized in the open-air ASTRA Museum. Beer and cider artisans share the secrets of the craft, delighting visitors with a variety of flavours. What can be better than a glass of fresh homemade beer on a summer hot day?
Middle-August: Full Moon Festival Biertan
This festival is ideal for horror and fantasy film lovers who relish both classic and modern horror movies. Taking place every year in Biertan, the event aims to ‘scare your socks off in the name of high-quality entertainment’.
Beginning of September: Transilvania Gastronomica Festival
During 10 days, Sibiu and the surrounding villages are brimming with delicious dishes and gastronomical events. Aiming to preserve old recipes and using only local products, the festival features live cooking sessions, cooking competitions and wine tasting. A festival to delight your taste buds.
Beginning of September: Răscoala Stânii Festival
A celebration dedicated to the ‘sheep’s distribution’ held in the village of Ciocănești, this festival marks the moment when the owners take back their sheep from the shepherds. The sheep are milked and a milk retribution is negotiated. The celebration ends with live music.
Beginning of October: Cabbage Festival
Organized in Moșna, a charming village in southern Transylvania, the Cabbage Festival is the perfect occasion to taste traditional recipes made with cabbage while interacting with lovely locals. In the village, you can visit the majestic Saxon fortified church.
Beginning of October: International Animation Film Festival
Bucharest’s most loved film festival, Anim’Est presents the best animation short and feature animations showcased in international film festivals, as well as retrospectives dedicated to important animation studios, directors or festivals. The goal of the event is to support the Romanian animation films in their participation in international film festivals.
Middle-November: International Music Festival “Mozart”
A festival dedicated to classical music, events includes local and international artist representations. From symphonic concerts to chamber concerts to opera plays, participants are captivated by wonderful classical music. Held in Cluj, the event also includes music contests, conferences and mastery courses.
Beginning of December: National Festival of Christmas Traditions
Organized in the ASTRA open-air museum, the festival brings together art, traditions, local craftsman and musicians from all over the country. Exhibitions of painted icons, Christmas carol concerts and the playing of local traditions showcase the folk Romanian culture, the joy and customs related to Christmas, one of the most important religious celebrations in the country.