2 – Moldova. Life is Less Joyous…
BSSB.BE scholarworks.iu.edu 19.04.2016
A more complex discussion of measuring change, and especially of analyzing the structure of informant memories of past ritual activity, is certainly well worth pursuing. In the immediate context of documenting the postsocialist ritual cycle in rural Moldova, however, a few initial conclusions can be made.
The most important of these is to note that while there appears to be an overall proliferation of rituals and feasts, people are experiencing a flattening of the ritual cycle. It is clear that during the postsocialist period, the celebration of public holidays in villages has certainly decreased, while the celebration of major and minor religious holidays within the household has definitely increased.
In other words, public celebration has decreased, while private feasting has increased. This general change is also noted by informants who point out that holidays are increasingly becoming occasions for feasting that are not accompanied by additional ritual activities. This is true in the case of the village Hram, where interest in public dancing has dropped off.
It is also especially true for the ritually-dense winter holiday period, where a number of subsidiary activities associated with the holidays are no longer being practiced. For example, the night before St. Andrei’s Day was previously accompanied by a number of divination rituals practiced by girls to determine the qualities of their future husbands.
While women in their forties and older have vivid memories of at least one episode of divination from their girlhood, teenage girls today and their parents report that such divination does not take place. Similar examples are abundant. The result is a flattening of the ritual cycle. Rituals become, in this case, primarily feasts, and holidays have few dimensions other than time off from work spent in cooking and eating. In this context, the experience of going “from celebration to celebration,” is only partly a joyful one.
It also entails frustrations, and a sense of not being able to bring work plans, whether at home or in the fields, to completion. In the light of previous research on socialist holidays, for example Katherine Verdery’s discussion of the etatization of time through celebrations as well as work and production schedules, this experience of frustration and lack of control in the postsocialist setting appears as something of a paradox.
- Why have people not used free time in “their own interest”? Why does the observance of rituals continue to be felt as something not in individuals’ control in the postsocialist period?
- In the current period, it is not even possible to see the celebration of holidays as something determined by the state, as the official calendar is no longer connected to any clear policy to encourage social rhythms in a particular direction.
The answer of course is complex, and points to the multiple forms which individual and collective self-interest can take. The combined extension and flattening of the ritual cycle, with its series of feasts which households are constantly preparing and consuming, is the result of a complex combination of institutions influencing local rhythms.
The decline in public festivals, for example, is most closely linked to the withdrawal of the post-Soviet state from the instrumental use of festivities to control social rhythms and ideology. Not only has the village government and culture house ceased to plan many public festivals, but withdrawing from public activities has been a pragmatic response as people themselves reject the intrusion of the state into their lives.
In not organizing public festivals through informal means, people do in fact use free time to other, selfinterested purposes. The increase in family feasting, however, should be differently explained. Family feasting in Moldova (excluding major events like weddings), has little connection to direct economic incentives or discouragements.
The reciprocal nature of feasting reaffirms and strengthens a core set of relations on which people rely for many kinds of support, but households vary in the degree to which they rely on close relatives, godparents, or godchildren for securing their material needs, and most seek to minimize their dependence, even as they increase visitation.
In this case, feasting may be best understood as promoting social relationships for their own sake. Labor migration affects the attendance of individuals at ritual events, and also supplies cash for purchasing many food items, but also bears little direct influence on the extension or flattening of the ritual cycle. Rather, the most direct influence on the ritual cycle appears to be the reinvigoration of many religious holidays as family feasts. The reinvigoration of family feasting is best understood as part of a lived nationalism and religious revival as people seek to reclaim time as an expression of their individual and collective identities.
The holidays are known “from tradition,” and have been actively reinstated in the ritual cycles of many households as an effort to recapture the past, and specifically, the sense of moral order ascribed to the past. In reclaiming time for identity, however, people have also lost the ability to put time to other purposes such as completing other necessary tasks for household provisioning, physical rest, or leisure activity.
Feasting punctuates work, but it not does not necessarily bring rest. Awareness of this situation produces tension, especially among women who bear responsibility for most of the cooking and cleaning, yet everyone feels compelled to observe the feasts, largely for the dual purposes of avoiding social censure and reaffirming social relationships through reciprocal visits.
Paradoxically, in the case of Moldova, changes in the ritual cycle during postsocialism suggest a “return” to a pre-capitalist temporal order, where the religious and agricultural cycles dominate alterations between work and rest.
Geopolitics Nations Crisis
- eurasiareview.com – Is Moldova a twin of Ukraine? – The political crisis in Moldova goes back to 2005 when the country had become a part of the Associations Agreement with the European Union. According to Iuri Vitneanschi, a city council member, “the Moldavian people were brainwashed by the pro-European propaganda while the government announced a pro-European political course for the country”. However, the reality the reality proved to be different from promising slogans.
- voltairenet.org/ – Multipolar world with media hegemony? – States struggling against imperialism are probably not sufficiently aware of the importance of having non-aligned media. Yet, obviously, Russia Today, Press TV, Telesur and Al Mayadeen are better at defending freedom than other weapons. For these are indeed weapons we are talking about. The first magic tool that the US uses for world domination is the dollar. The word “magic” is not just hyperbole; the dollar is indeed a magical creation since the Federal Reserve can create unlimited amounts in its computers, and the world sees these dollars as having an effective value, with an ulterior motive: petrodollars.
- stratfor.com/analysis/ – Who will get Moldova. A Roulette Wheel – Like Ukraine, Moldova is both weak and divided. Unlike Ukraine, Moldova does not have traditional or ethnic ties to Russia; it is ethnically and linguistically Romanian. This, along with Moldova’s small size and strategic location, is a main factor in the weakness of the state and its ability to balance between external power
Tagsbanking robbery celebrations corruption enormous influence of businessmen on politics Crisis efficient government fraud from the banking system holidays implement the reforms” institutions for manipulating Moldova More European Less Democratic postsocialism ritual change ritual cycle society “national democratic governance” “Nations in Transit”
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