Sunday, October 9, 2011
Historical stuff and just playing around
Roar vs. Roar, I have a hard time associating Romania with vampires the way the fandom does, because it's werewolves that first pop into mind when thinking of Romanian folklore.
This folklore has many tales of werewolves and their ilk. Strangely, some stories and rituals that continue to this day are closely tied to religious holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. It's said that if a couple were to have intercourse on the eve of these holidays, the child will be malformed with "wolf ears", a "wolf's head", and the offspring will generally be malicious or unlucky. The child is said to resent their parent's for such a transgression, cursed to live as a werewolf for the rest of their days.
Vampires and werewolves appear during 'cycles' associated with those holidays. Christmas and News Years are the major of the cycles with Easter and Pentecost coming second. However, their appearance is also closely tied to the Moon's natural cycles as in many European traditions. In Romanian folklore specifically, the vircolac (pricolici) eats the moon and sun, thus causing the eclipse, just as Slavic werewolves have the same habit. In Italy and Sicily, werewolves were conceived on the new moon or under a full moon.
Source: Folklore Volume 93:2 by Harry Senn (JSTOR)
Additionally, from a friend;
Vlkodlaks were a slovanian evil spirit that was the fore-father to the beasties of Eastern Europe. In Romania, this gave way to The Strigoi (literally "revenant" but referring to Vampires), while men that were possessed by wolves (or any other animal) or animals that had been bewitched against man was called "Moroi". Hungarian's conception of the Vlkodlaks were strictly wolf-like thanks to their Nordic/ Germanic influence that already had anthropomorphic wolves in their stories. Vlkodlaks could possess anyone/thing, and had no specific form; the debate is weather the influence of neighboring gothic groups solidified the wolf association, or that this was back-dated by later stories. The story of the Vlkodlaks eating the sun/moon causing an eclipse is Slovanian, not Romanian.
The line gets blurred because the Carpathian region kept getting carved up; Aldera was a part of what then was the Hungary of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and Moldova (part of what would later be known as Romania) was part of the madigrade against the Ottomans. When Muntena, Moldova and Aldera were amalgamated, they became Romania, with Aldera becoming "Transalvania" (Trans-slovanian area). Parts of Hungarian culture then became synonymous with Romania, despite the fact that Romanians themselves don't believe in them.