Junii Brasovului an unique Romanian folk custom



Time: 11 am
Location: Brasov

The Junii Brasovului Festival, an ancient custom the roots of which are lost in the mists of time, is rightly considered as a unique folk practice, a bountiful reminiscence of the values of the Dacian way of life in this region.

The first documentary mention of the custom dates from 1728 and appears in a charter kept in the archive of the First Romanian School in Schei. In this charter, the brethren of the Juni is mentioned as “a tradition passed down from the ancestors”. Among others, in connection with the passage of the mounted Juni to Solomon’s Rocks, where they were supposed to celebrate on Easter Week Wednesday, the document also states: “Let them pass unbothered, nicely, one by one, as fitted, and whoever does not allow the passage of the holy crosses through this garden, let him be accursed by the Lord and the 318 saints.”

The seven Juni groups are: Junii Albiori (the White Hatted Juni), Junii Rosiori (whose dress takes after the uniform of the cavalrymen), Junii Brasovecheni (who wear a hat trimmed with the tricolor), Junii Dorobanti (dressed like the footmen of the Independence War), Junii Curcani (the Feather Hat bearers), Junii Batrani (the Elder Juni) and Junii Tineri (the Young Juni), with the leader, the senior provost marshal and the second provost marshal, the 100-men commander, the standard bearer and the piffero player marching up front. The piffero, a sort of trumpet that produces high-pitched sounds, is the preferred musical instrument of the Juni.

The leaders of each group carry a mace with tricolor, as a symbol of bravery and dignity. Each group also has its own banner which confers a profoundly patriotic character to the celebrations and actions of the Juni. Every group has a specific, very old garment type they put on only for special events such as the Bright Week and at the Juni Parade, which takes place every year on the streets in the center of Brasov, on Saint Thomas Sunday.

Then come the Bright Week celebrations, the pinnacle of which is the parade on Saint Thomas Sunday, with thousands of onlookers. On Monday, accompanied by the violin player, they go visit the girls and receive red eggs, then they dance the ring dance and throw the mace in Prundului Square. On Tuesday, they go to Prundului Coast with pies, and all passers-by receive a piece of pie. Then they make merry at the pastoral historic cross on Prundului Coast. There are 64 open-air crosses in Scheii Brasovului, and each group of Juni sees to several crosses. On Wednesday they go to Solomon’s Rocks, on Thursday there’s the blanket tossing, when men are thrown in the air on a blanket in Prundului Square, and on Friday they are said to lament over their days. On Saturday they prepare for the great Sunday, when they go parading in the old city.

Article by Vasile Olteanu curated from agerpress.ro