July 15, 2016

2649, 2650 ROMANIA (Brasov) - Junii Braşoveni (The Brasovian Lads)

2649 Braşov - Junii Braşoveni (The Brasovian Lads)

When the heavy snows of the harsh Brașovian winters are gone and spring sun shines again, it is the time for people from Şcheii Brasovului, the old  Romanian district of Braşov, to start celebrating the renewal. Yearly, they have a festival, called The Brasovian Lads - Junii Brasoveni (In Transylvania, june means unmarried young lad) which stretches over weeks, having its climax on the first Sunday after Easter (when the Orthodox Christians Romanians celebrate Duminica Tomii - The Sunday of Thomas the Apostle).

2650 Braşov -Junii Tineri in 1905

In that day, a group of horsemen from Şchei, in nowadays with ceremonial role, parade through the streets of Brașov, in specific costumes. Feast is a complex of habits that combines pre-Christian and Christian practices, to restore the myth of ritual death and rebirth of the calendar time. The oldest document recorded in which this procession is mentioned is from 26 March 1728 but it is assumed that the celebration already existed in antiquity.

In all there are seven groups (each from a different quarter in the Şchei), which is due to the religious belief that God made the world in seven days. The costumes of each team differ through color and badges. The leader of ceremonies wears a shirt adorned with 40000 colorful spangles. The first group are the Junii Tineri (the younger unmarried men); the flags that this group carries has the image of the Saguna college on one side and a mounted June on the other side. The hats that they wear have three colored ribbons.

The second group are the Junii Bătrâni (the older younger married men), who wears a costume identical to Junii Tineri, but without ribbons on the hat. The third group is the Junii Curcani (the turkeys youths); this group's flag holds the Mihai Viteazu's (the first prince who united the three Romanian provinces) countenance. They wear black fur caps with a turkey feather. The fourth group is the Junii Dorobanți (dorobanț is a type of infantryman); this group's flag holds the image of a mounted June and the bugler soldier, while the Junii themselves wear gray fur caps.

The fifth group is the Junii Brașovecheni (the older Brasovians or the Junii of the old city), the flag holds Al. I. Cuza's image (the first ruler of Romanian United Principalities), and they wear black caps with a top. The sixth group is the Junii Roșiori (the red young men or the horseman Junii), who wear a picked cap with a red tuft. And the last group is the Junii Albiori (the young whites or whitish Junii), who wear white fur caps and have the same flag as the Junii Brașovecheni.

The uniqueness of the event comes mainly from the traditional costumes that they wear, some made around the 1730’s. The basic outfit consists of a special pair of trousers, boots, a long white linen shirt with the sleeves garnished with national motifs and a hat. Each group has their own variations on this. The horses are also highly decorated for this celebration, with the harnesses and saddles being draped in all sorts of traditional decorations.

The Romanian flag also plays a big part in the occasion. Traditional Romanian songs are sung and dances danced. Young men are then placed, one by one, in the middle of the dancers and throw the scepter in the air. This custom is considered a kind of initiation ritual. Whoever throws the scepter highest in the air wins the competition. After the ritual ends, if the weather is good, the Junii and their families will have a barbecue with traditional music and mici (a traditional Romanian dish of grilled ground meat rolls).

About the stamps
On the postcard 2649

The stamp is one of the two designed by Mircea Ostoia and issued by Romfilatelia in April 6, 2012, for Europa Stamps 2012 - Visit...
• The Danube Delta (1.40 RON) - It's on the postcard 2649
• Romanian Castle (8.10 RON)

On the postcard 2650
The stamp is part of the series Live Healthy!, about which I wrote here.

Junii Braşoveni (rom.) - Wikipedia
Junii Feast - Braşov Travel Guide

Sender 2649, 2650: Adriana Popa (direct swap)
2649: Sent from Sighişoara (Mureş / Romania), on 21.07.2012
Design: Cristian Firuţă
2650: Sent from Râmnicu Vâlcea (Vâlcea / Romania), on 03.08.2012
Fhoto: Emil Schwartz / 1905

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