1 – Moldova. Life is Less Joyous…
BSSB.BE scholarworks.iu.edu 18.04.2016
Throughout history, largescale political and economic changes have often correlated with change in the observance of holidays and the ritual cycle, reflecting and enabling the appearance of new ideologies and practices related to work. This is especially true for the modern period, both from the initial appearance of capitalism and industrialism, and in the twentieth-century efforts of states to engineer and better control economic development.
This paper represents a preliminary attempt to analyze the impacts of capitalism, nationalism, and religious revival as influences on transformations in the ritual cycle of postsocialist Moldova.
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Many of my informants sense that there is something specific to the rhythms of Moldovan life, and this sense has become more pronounced as people who have worked abroad reflect on the differences in their life at home and abroad. For example, one woman described how people are permanently left with unfinished plans. “You decide you want to do something, and start to do it, and then something intervenes.” She retold the story of a friend who had worked abroad and returned home, determined to have “time for herself” as she had in Italy.
Yet she found she could not “get things in order” at home in Moldova with the same techniques. “When you come back to Moldova, it is like walking into mud. You get stuck, and cannot move forward.” People told me repeatedly (and I observed), that they were constantly working from early in the morning until late at night, and that the constancy of feasts drove this intense schedule of household labor. My fieldwork in the village of Răscăieţi was part of a larger comparative project on economy and ritual in six postsocialist countries.
One of our initial questions within the project was whether ritual activity has increased or decreased during the postsocialist period. Not surprisingly, this question does not have a simple answer. Public events, like many Soviet holidays, have largely disappeared from village life. At the same time, religious holidays have gained greater prominence.
Major holidays like Easter that were observed with some secrecy during socialism are now openly observed. Many individuals are now also observing many more minor religious holidays and rituals than they previously did. My host mother, for example, no longer washes laundry or does other “work” on Sundays; she sometimes goes to church and gives pomană on Saturdays of the Dead; and she even attempted fasting for the first two weeks of Lent in 2010. Other holidays have been both more and less pronounced in particular years. Holidays with a public dimension are particularly vulnerable to inconsistencies in organization and funding.
For example, the celebration of village patron Saints’ days (Hram) has been generally increasing as part of religious revival since the early 1990s, particularly as churches have been newly built or reopened.
- Villagers in Răscăieţi remember the mid-1990s as a highpoint in their own Hram celebrations – when outdoor concerts and dances were organized and drew large crowds. In recent years, however, there has been declining interest and energy in Hram celebrations.
- This was particularly noticeable in 2010, when the mayor put little effort into organizing public activities because her energies were occupied with problems related to the installation of gas mains along the village’s central streets, and no other individual or group (such as the staff at the Culture House) took the planning initiative.
- As it happened, Hram fell during the highpoint of the 2009 flu pandemic, and all public activities except the church service were cancelled by recommendation of the county government. Rumors spread that the police would block entrance roads to the village (it had the highest number of flu cases in the county), and many expected guests did not arrive from other cities and villages.
The example of Hram celebrations points not only to the importance of uncontrollable idiosyncrasies from year to year (such as weather or flu scares), but also the central role played by festivity organizers in garnering interest and enthusiasm for particular holidays. This example reveals the continuing legacy of hierarchical and politicized control of cultural activity from the Soviet era as well: in most villages, culture workers have primary responsibility for organizing public celebrations, such as dances and concerts, but they often do not undertake these responsibilities without the Anthropology of East Europe Review 29(2) Fall 2011 198 mayor’s direction.
Moreover, both culture workers and political leaders at the county level can require, encourage, or deter the organization of public events in villages. On the whole, formal observances of holidays, traditions, and religious rituals within households are probably on the increase. Yet people report a loss of excitement, interest, energy, and enthusiasm over the recent and more distant pasts.
When I questioned this, informants could identify no clear patterns in the changing holiday cycle. Most were quick to assess the holidays as decreasing, but this perspective that holidays were more special, joyful, or sincere “before” was adopted equally by respondents in their early twenties and those in their mid-80s, as well as everyone in between.
Reported assessments of changes in the ritual cycle, are therefore almost certainly overdetermined by a shared style of narrating history as decline. As Zerubavel notes, narratives of decline are “mental historical outlooks,” which cannot be equated with “actual historical trends” (2003:16). When pressed to compare the celebration of particular holidays across years, I was also offered evidence that “every year is different.” Indeed, this perspective also reflects villagers’ assessment of the recent past as a period of general impermanence, instability, and constant change.
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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