Romanian Merriment

By July 21, 2013 culture, faith One Comment

Warmth poured out to us from our first moments in the Romanian Orthodox Church Saint Dimitri the New Church in Frederick, Colorado. You may wonder if that’s an oxymoron—warmth and orthodoxy. Not in this case. The giving of smiles and hugs and fabric leis conveyed friendly hospitality—as did the rush of Romanian words. I’m sure my ready-smile but blank-expression told the hosts what they needed to know: time to switch to English for the foreign guests.

We were St. Dimitri for a fund-raiser festival, invited by our friends Adriana and Jeremy. Adriana is Romanian, and they have attended similar events in the past. They thought we would enjoy going to this one, boasting a travel theme. The idea was to buy a ticket to feast and dance our way from country to country, with stops in Germany, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, and Spain.

After opening remarks, a troupe performed several traditional dances (Romanian/Greek, I believe). It took my breath away, with all the swirling, swaying, spinning. And the joy! They performed for us, but certainly for the joy it brought them too—our joy to watch, their joy to give us this fantastic show. My photos aren’t the greatest—all blurry. But I sort of like them fuzzy; it reminds me of how fast they were moving about.dancing2

Dancing continued for all when the DJ played a mix of traditional and modern music from our port countries. It was lively and energizing, and just plain fun. Adriana pulled me into one of the traditional dances—one of those with everyone circled up and moving one way, then the other, gaining speed with each cycle. I had no idea what was happening, and my lack of coordination was plenty evident, but it was worth the push-and-pull, tug-and-tow for the heart-laughter it brought me (and to Adriana, I’m sure!).

appetizersThe dancing ebbed only slightly as the food was served, each course about an hour apart. The menu brought us food from each port of call, prepared by people at the church. The appetizer plate featured Spanish-style liver wrapped with bacon, Patlican Salatasi (tomatoes stuffed with baba ganoush), feta-stuffed peppers, salami and cheese with Italian pasta salad, Taramosalata (creamy roe) with fresh bread, and Kalamata olives. I especially enjoyed the creamy roe and bread.

sausageplatedinnerDinner was pure comfort food, with plenty of meat and potatoes! Our plates featured pork snitzel, sauteed carrots, garlic potatoes, Lahano (cabbage salad), and Mititei (grilled lamb and pork links). The sausage links were quite delicious—despite the fact that my photo does them no justice—savory and flavorful. I also enjoyed the snitzel, especially the extra crunchy pieces.

And then there was dessert. Dessert is my favorite part of any (every?) meal, and Adriana promised me I would not be disappointed. The dessert plate graced me with Cremeschnitte (a vanilla and custard cream cake), Delicatess (coffee torte, similar to tiramisu with a nuttier texture), and fresh fruit. Sadly, I was so excited about the dessert that I forgot to take a photo. {sigh} Let me tell you, the plate was beautifully arranged, and the desserts were beyond delicious. I could have had seconds. Maybe even fifths. Perhaps Adriana could be coaxed into a baking lesson? Because I don’t foresee Cremeschnitte making an appearance anywhere back home unless it comes from my own kitchen.

nelsonsThe revelry was going strong when we left at 10:45 p.m. Adriana says these parties last well-past midnight. In addition to the warmth, the lively people, the wonderful food, the cultural music, and the joyful dancing, another element was a huge treat for me. It’s the experience of being the outsider. It sounds odd for that to be a treat, but really, there is just something about being in the midst of another culture, another language, another tradition. As a guest, I get to observe as an outsider, and take it all in. Romanian language, manners, tradition—I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s the same feeling I had in India, where I was enamored by the sparkly fabrics and pungent scents and beautiful language.

us4Experiences like these offer just a peek into the banquet that will one day gather people from every tribe and nation and tongue, hosted by the Risen One. He will throw the party* that we will speak about for ages afterward. If this festival is a taste of that—yet we cannot even imagine the wonders that God is preparing for us in the age to come—I cannot wait to get that party started.

*Here’s your invite.

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