When I chuckled, she explained, “Ceasescu rewrote our nation’s history to make himself and communism look great and perfect.”
Ceasecscu and communism have been gone from Romania for 23 years, but it takes a long time for a nation to heal from such a dictator.
Here’s one small example.
I asked a friend, “What do the colors on the flag represent?”
She smiled and answered, “Red is for the blood of the martyrs who died defending our nation. Yellow is for the golden wheat, because we used to be the bread basket of Europe. Blue is for the clear sky under which everyone is happy.” Before she was finished another person nearby chorused in with the same words.
Later I went online to see if there were more details to add, and found instead a history of changing symbolism:
- There was a generic explanation, which in a general way says something similar to what my friend said: According to ancient and heraldic traditions . . . red symbolizes hardiness, bravery, strength and valor; yellow symbolizes generosity; blue symbolizes vigilance, truth and loyalty, perseverance and justice.
- There was a geographical-historical explanation: Red was the color of Moldavia. Yellow was the primary color of the changing Wallachian flag. Blue was the color of the heraldic flag of Transylvania. Together they represent the unity of the regions that now form the nation of Romania.
- And there was an extremely historical explanation: [Using ancient names of what are now parts of Romania] the Roman Emperor Justinian (527-565) decreed: At the right side . . . red shield . . meaning Dacia. In the second division celestial [blue] shield with Buri tribe signs. And the middle (a part of Olenia and Munenia) golden.
When I mentioned to my friend that I found lots of explanations, but none of them quite like hers, she smiled again and said, “That was what we learned in school under Ceausescu, so that’s what I remember.”
It’s a lovely explanation of the flag’s colors. Never mind that it was Ceausescu shedding the martyr’s red blood, that Ceausescu excavated the fertile golden wheat fields to build industry, and that happiness was hard to find under the blue sky–at least not happiness provided by Ceausescu.
Don’t miss the giveaways for this trip:
- The Bucharest Giveaway
- The Geneva Giveaway
- The Hamburg Giveaway
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