December 27, 2015

2156-2158 ROMANIA (Braşov) - Borica dance, a Christmas custom of the Csangos in Săcele area

2156 Borica dance

The Csangos (Hungarian: Csángók, Romanian: Ceangăi) are an ethnographic group of Roman Catholic faith, living mostly in Moldavia (especially in Bacău County), and speaking an archaic Hungarian dialect. Some Csangos live also in Burzenland, in Săcele area (once called Şapte Sate, which means Seven Villages), but they are of Evangelical Lutheran faith.In three of these villages (Ţărlungeni, Purcăreni and Zizin) was preserved an ancient dance named borica, in the past a rite of fertility addressed to the family, the homestead, the earth, the animals, and also a practice of initiating the young men.

2157 Borica dance - Kuka

The dance is performed in the third day of Christmas, the Day of the Holy Children, at the performance participating young men from 15-16 years of age (in even numbers), best dancers and connoisseurs of the traditional customs.They wear the traditional costume of Csangos: fur hat adorned with a red carnation and a nagara (a red feather), white shirt, black cloth waistcoat, black pants and boots with sleigh bells. In the past, during the dance they kept in his right hand a hatchet, replaced in modern times with a little wooden shovels named lapocka (in Purcăreni and Ţărlungeni) or pyrographed sticks (in Zizin).

2158 Borica dance - little wooden shovel (lapocka)

Above all, they form a procession after a well-established order. In front are the fiddlers, then follows the vatáf (the usher), the two rudas (the main dancers), one or two kuka (a masked man), and then the rest of the dancers. The vatáf holds a bull leather whip (bikocsok), a symbol of power, with which coordinates the movements of the dance. The kuka bears a zoomorphic wooden mask, adorned with feathers. At the waist has bells, and in the right hand a leather whip, with which frighten the people. He is a speechless character, all his actions being linked to the pantomime.

The lads stop at each house, and the kuka and one of the dancers ask permission to perform in the yard. The dancers are arranged in half circles, with the vatáf at one end, and at the other with the two rudas, who go backwards. The dance is composed of four distinct moments. While the lads dance, the kuka try to attract attention to himself, walking in the yard and collecting various objects, which the host must redeem them. In the past, the dancers were rewarded with meat, sausages, sauerkraut and bacon, which they put on a long stick or in baskets. Today they only get money and drink.

About the stamps
On the postcard 2156
About the stamp, issued in 2014 to celebrate Christmas, I wrote here.

On the postcard 2157
The stamp is the one issued in 2014 in the series Romania's Cities, dedicated this time to the city of Arad:
• The Administrative Palace (the City Hall) of Arad (2.00 RON)
• The Old Orthodox Cathedral (2.10 RON) - It's on the postcard 2157
• The Evangelical-Lutheran Church (3.60 RON)
• The “Ioan Slavici” Classical Theatre (14.50 RON)

On the postcard 2158
The stamp is part of the first set of the series Flowers’ Clock I, about which I wrote here. 

Csangos - Wikipedia
Jocul Boriţa, de Crăciun (rom) - Monitorul Expres
Borita se mai pastreaza in trei sate sacelene (rom) -

Sender 2156, 2157: Ionuţ Bănuţă
2156, 2157: Sent from Bucharest (Bucharest / Romania), on 13.02.2015
Sender 2158: Dănuţ Ivănescu
2158: Sent from Sinaia (Prahova / Romania), on 06.08.2015 

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