This site is an outcome of the Comenius 2008-2010 multilateral project "European Journey Through Legends".

"Becoming more European does not mean forgetting our national cultural heritage, but sharing it with other European nation".

The Legend of Mount Găina

The Legend of Mount Găina

Once upon a time there lived a beautiful and rich fairy at the edge. She had a hen which laid miraculous golden eggs every day. The fairy  ortioned once in a year a golden egg to a poor and honest girl when she married. One day five young boys from Vidra, dressing women attire, edged out to Fairy of the mountain and stole the hen and a pannier full of golden eggs. They ran and one of them let fall rolling to insurgent waters of Aries. They hid the hen then in Abrud Mountains where is a big fortune. Angrily, the Fairy of golden baths fell away from those emperies.

Since then, the young people (girls and boys) knew to climb on the crest of Mount Găina (1486 m) in the third Sunday of July and they hope they maybe will meet her one day. This their meeting became Mount Gaina Maiden Fair - In the Sunset Mountains (Apuseni Mountains).

Voices of Angels Resounding from Tulnic Tunes

In Romania, the sound of an angel’s song is absolutely unique, something you will never ever hear some place else. That’s because angels use the tulnic or bucium to deliver their musical messages.

The term “bucium”, derived from the Latin word “bucinum” (meaning curved horn or trumpet blast) is used n the Muntenian Carpathians of Arges and Prahova, and in the Moldavian Carpathians of Vrancea and Neamt. In Romania’s northern regions the name might be linked to the Slavic “trambica”, and may have been taken over from the Huţul populations. Other names of the same instrument are “trambita” in Bucovina and “trambita” or “tranghita” in Oas and Maramures.

The tulnic is an instrument with origins lost in our Dacian roots, somewhere at the dawn of civilization. It resembles the Alpenhorn but the sounds of the two instruments are quite different. Their usage however is sometimes similar. Specific to mountain dwellers in particular, it is mostly used by shepherds for signaling and communication in the forested mountains, as well as for guiding sheep and dogs, and it also used to be way to signal military conflicts in the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. Although it’s a huge instrument, ranging from 1.5 to 3 meters, women in the Apuseni mountains are using it frequently, sometimes to call their loved ones, other times for more practical purposes.

The alpenhorn is a big tube, opened at both ends and composed of long staves of fir, ash, lime or nut tree wood, very well dry. These stoves are tightened with wooden or metal circles. Of Roman origins, the alpenhorn is used by the mountain shepherds for signaling different things. In the Apuseni Mountain the alpenhorn is called "tulnic". In some regions it is played on the funerals. In the past the alpenhorn was used for signaling the Turkish invasions.

Depending on the region of the country, communications through the bucium song happen in different times of the day and have different meaning. While the shepherds are those who mostly use it (in the evening to call their sheep and dogs, or in the morning to take the sheep out), it is also an instrument leading funeral processions in Oas, Maramures and other villages in the north of Neamt. In the Apuseni, where women are the patrons of the tulnic, it’s mainly a communication device for those living in the highlands, similar to how Scandinavians use their luur.

The tube is made of well-seasoned deal, maple, ash, lime or hazel wood which is conical or cylindrical bored, slit length ways, hollowed out and then glued together. In northern Romania, metals are added to the tube: it can be made of galvanized iron and folded like a trombone. As it does not have valves or finger holes it can only play the pitches in the natural harmonic series.

The sounds of this instrument still seem to me the best to express lost love, missing the one you’ve lost or who is far away. When those women started singing, everything else just stopped, no one could think of anything else, except the song and the eyes of the musicians. There was a special glow, one seeming to hide secrets from long ago. No doubt angels chose this instrument to announce the Judgment Day!

Romanian Traditions - Mount Gaina Maidens Fair

One of the Romanian traditions that survived to this times, the "Maiden Fair" is an incredibly enjoyable day for the people living in that region to gather on the mountain top of the Mount Gaina. Each year, from times immemorial, people would gather on the mountain top of the Mount Găina for this so called Maiden Fair. Despite it is called maiden fair, nobody sells or buys girls on this event, and perhaps such trade never happened. Nevertheless, it is a big celebration of all the mountain-dwellers, gathering from far distances to one particular spot in the mountains, to meet each others, exchange ideas and traditions, sing, dance, enjoy themselves, celebrating being alive. There were plenty of situation in which young boys would meet young girls from different, far away villages, and end up getting married, but the main purpose of this event seems to be the social interaction of young people all around the Western Mountains.

The idea of this also called festival was given by the fact that the villages there are scattered at large distances from each other, with some kilometers from house to house, so it was quite hard for people to meet. Life and climate can also be quite harsh, so they really needed a special occasion to be able to reach each other. So, the Maiden Fair's purpose was and still is keeping people in touch.

This festival is probably the largest of its kind in Ardeal. It is held on the mountain of Gaina ("hen" in Romanian). Obviously, the festival has lots this tradition, the name (The Girls Market from Gaina) being the only way to keep it. Nowadays , the Gaina festival is about concerts, enjoying the beautiful nature of the region and it's very friendly people, this celebration is actually a pretext for going out, savoring delicous traditional food, socializing and buying trinkets.

Women playing the alpenhorn, renown all over Europe, launch the call to open the festival every year. This festival is an event that gathers craftsmen, traditional costumes, traditional dances and songs.

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