Tänze, Spiele und Deutsch in Arad

Us folgjende doel wie, lykas earder neamd, Arad yn Roemenië. Op dy wize soenen wy mear yn it westen fan Roemenië bliuwe en sa soenen wy fuortdaliks mear op ’e rûte lizze rjochting Fryslân. Boppedat koenen wy sa in freon opsykje dy’t by de Dútske minderheid yn Roemenië heart. In strak plan dus.

As mentioned previously, our next goal was Arad, Romania. Going to this town meant that we would stay in the west in Romania and thus more on route back home, and we could also visit a friend who is part of the German minority in Romania. Win-win.

Wylst wy nei Arad fytsten seagen wy al de Dútsk- en meartaligens, mei’t wy hoholden hawwe yn Timisoara. Dy stêd hie yn fjouwer talen har namme op ’e buorden stean: Roemeensk, Dútsk, Hongaarsk en Servysk. Dat multykultureel erfskip komt fanwegen de lizzing fan de Banat-regio, dy’t oer trije lannen ferspraat leit, nammentlik Roemenië, Hongarije en Servië. Troch it Habsboarchske Ryk kamen der ek in soad Dútsers yn dat gebiet. Hjoed-de-dei is de Dútske oanwêzigens noch altiten sichtber en warber. Sa is der bygelyks in Dútske boekwinkel oan it Ienheidsplein mei de namme Buchhandlung am Dom, dêr’t Dútsktalige studinten fan ‘e universiteit fan Timisoara yn wurkje. Arad, de stêd dêr’t wy hinne gien binne leit mar foar in part yn de Banat-regio, mar dat hat de Dútske minsken net wjerholden om harren dêr ek nei wenjen te setten.

While we were cycling towards Arad we already spotted the German and multilingual presence, as we had a stop in Timisoara, which had its place name sign in four different languages: Romanian, German, Hungarian and Serbian. This multicultural heritage is not strange, as it is part of the Banat region, which is spread over the three countries of Romania, Hungary, and Serbia. Due to the Habsburg Monarchy, German settlers came to this region too. Nowadays this German presence is still visible and active. For example, situated on one of the corners of the Unification Square is a German bookstore, Buchhandlung am Dom, in which German speaking students of the university in Timisoara work. Arad, the town we were heading to only lies partly in the Banat region, but that didn’t withhold the German people to settle there too.

892 - Timisoara (RO)

No ja, Arad. Wy moasten in lyts bytsje fierder fytse nei in doarpke mei de namme Vladimirescu, dat ek in Dútske namme hat; Glogowatz. Dêr troffen wy ús freondinne en har famylje oan, hja binne ien fan ’e hast tritich húshâldings dy’t noch yn it doarp wenje. Minsken dy’t harren by de Dútske minderheid thús fiele minderje yn tal, net allinnich yn dit gebiet mar yn hiel Roemenië. Benammen yn de Twadde Wrâldoarloch en nei it fallen fan it kommunistyske rezjym binne de tallen drastysk sakke. Nettsjinsteande dat feit is de Dútske neilittenskip noch goed te sjen yn it doarp, om’t in soad hûzen saneamde Dútske langhûzen binne. Dat binne lange hûzen (ja werklik) mei ferskillende keamers efterinoar, dy’t wer ferbûn binne mei in gong bûtenom – de measte minsken hawwe dy gong om praktyske redenen tichtmakke – en almeast mei in lyts skuorke oan ’e ein fan it hûs. Wy hawwe in pear dagen (of salang’t wy mar woenen) yn ien sa’n hûs taholden by ús freondinne en har famylje om ús del te jaan en mear te witten te kommen oer de Dútske minderheid yn dit gebiet.

Or Arad? We had to cycle a bit further to a smaller village called Vladimirescu, which also has a German name: Glogowatz. There we met with our friend and her family, who are one of the almost thirty German families that still live there in the village. People who identify as the German minority are declining in number, not only in this region, but in the whole of Romania, with major drops after the Second World War and the fall of the communist regime. Nonetheless the decline of the minority, the German heritage remains visible in this village as many houses are German longhouses, which are long houses (you don’t say) with several rooms in a row, connected by an outside corridor – which most of the habitants have closed up for practical reasons – and usually a small shed at the end of the house. We could stay in one of them with our friend and her family for a couple of days (or as long as we wanted) to relax and learn more about the German minority around this region.

953 - Vladimirescu (RO)

Foar Dútsk ûnderwiis en aktiviteiten moasten wy it doarp ferlitte om werom te gean nei Arad. De minderheid wurdt dêr op ferskate wizen stipe. Sa is der in Dútske skoalle foar bern fan de beukerskoalle ôf oant harren eineksamen. De skoalle is ferdield yn trije dielen: in part foar jonge bern, in ambachtsskoalle en in lyseum. De lessen wurde yn it Dútsk jûn. Alteast bywannear’t de leararen de taal machtich binne. Dêr geane net allinnich bern fan Dútsk komôf hinne, Roemeenske bern geane dêr ek hinne, mei’t harren âlden graach wolle dat se meartalich wurde. Yn dy sin is it Dútsk in sterke minderheidstaal, om’t it in hege status hat en minsken bûten de minderheid om de taal ek graach leare wolle. Dat leit hiel oars foar de minderheidstalen as it Rumantsch, Sloveensk, Aroemeensk dêr’t wy earder oer skreaun hawwe. Om mar te swijen oer ús eigen Frysk.

For German education and activities, we had to leave the village and go back to Arad. There, the minority is visible and supported in several ways. For one, there is a German school for children to attend from kindergarten till graduation. The school is divided into three parts: for young children, a trade school and a lyceum. There, classes are taught in German, or at least, when the teachers are able to do so. Not only children of a German heritage attend these schools though, as Romanian children go there too, as their parents cherish the chance for them to become multilingual. German in that sense is of course a very strong minority language, as it enjoys a high status and people outside of the minority are keen to learn the language too. This is quite different with other minority languages we have written about before: Rumantsh, Slovene, Aromanian and our own Frisian.

Njonken de Dútske skoalle kin de jongerein harren witten oer de Dútske kultuer en tradysjes ferbreedzje en ferdjipje yn de Demokratisches Forum der Deutschen in Rumaniën, in Dútsk jeugdfoarum mei twa gebouwen yn Arad, al is ien dêrfan meast brûkt foar opslach. Yn it oare hûs kin de jongerein nei skoaltiid delkomme om om te hingjen, om boerdspultsjes te dwaan (mei regels dy’t aardich fan uzes ôfwike), om te tafeltennisjen… en om te dûnsjen! Jawier, ek hjir komt de jeugd byinoar foar Dútske folksdûnserij (lykas de Sloveenske minderheid yn Italië, wy Friezen kinne ús amper yntinke dat jongelju soks dogge). En by folksdûnsjen hearre tradisjonele kostúms, fansels.

Besides the in German school, youth can deepen their knowledge of German culture and traditions in the Demokratisches Forum der Deutschen in Rumaniën, a German youth forum with two buildings in Arad, though one is mostly used for storage. In the other house, youth can come in their free time after school to hang around, play board games (with rules that differ from the Netherlands, just saying), do a round of Ping-Pong… and dance! Yes, here youth gathers too for German folkdance (just like the Slovene minority in Italy, this is exceptional for us Frisians to see young people do this), and with folkdance comes traditional costumes.

935 - Arad (RO)

Wy hawwe spitigernôch de kostúms net yn fol ornaat sjen kinnen, mei’t de dûnsploech alle simmers drok dwaande is om de klean te stiivjen. Te stiivjen? Ja, de rokken moatte der sa bol mooglik útsjen of sa’t in famke it gekjend sei: ‘Wy moatte der grou útsjen.’ Om der sa bol út te sjen, moatte de fjouwer (!) ûnderrokken stive wurde mei in mjoks fan setmoal en wetter. Dat is in hiel proses dat gâns tiid kostet: men moat earst de rokken waskje, dan in amer stisel klearmeitsje, de rokken deryn ûnderdompelje, de stisel der útwringe, de rokken ophingje te drûgjen om se úteinliken strike te kinnen. It prosedee wurdt noch yndrukwekkender, om’t der safolle fan dy rokken binne. Elk famke hat fjouwer rokken oan en de organisaasje hat sa’n 65 kostúms. Mei oare wurden moatte der alle simmers mear as 250 rokken sa behannele wurde. En dan hawwe wy it allinnich noch mar oer de kostúms foar froulju. De manlju hawwe huodden op dy’t fersierd binne mei blommen dy’t alle jierren ferfongen en op ’e nij skikt wurde moatte.

We didn’t see the costumes in full glory, as the dance group members are busy every summer to stiffen the clothes. Stiffen? Yes, skirts have to look as puffed up as possible, or as one girl jokingly said: “We have to look fat.” To create that full look, the four (!) underskirts have to be stiffened in a mixture of starch and water. This is a whole process that takes time: first wash the skirts, then boil a batch of starch paste, dip in the skirts, wring out the paste, hang the skirts to dry, and finally iron the skirts. To make this process even more baffling is the amount of skirts: every girl wears four skirts, and the organisation has around 65 costumes, which makes that every summer, more than 250 skirts have to be handled. And that’s only talking about the female costumes, as the men wear hats with flowers that need to be rearranged or renewed every year.

936 - Arad (RO)

Wannear’t de kostúms stiif en ree binne, kin de ploech dûnsers wer op kulturele barrens, Dútske eveneminten en sels op brulloften dûnsje. Hja dogge dat foar de lol en der is in ûnbeskreaune regel: ‘Wy ferwachtsje dat wy let en set wurde op de jûn sels.’ Dat klinkt bêst genôch. Wy hawwe in priuwke meikrije kinnen fan de folksdûnsen, om’t op in jûn it Foarum besocht waard troch in Sineeske útwikselstudint en hy woe graach de groep dûnsjen sjen, dat de leden koenen harren mar reemeitsje yn ’e hjitte. In laptop fol mei tradisjonele muzyk waard oansetten en fjouwer spantsjes stapten de dûnsflier op. Nei twa lieten streamde it swit rûnom yn it benaude keammerke, mar de studint woe noch ien sjen, dat in tredde liet waard oanklikt en it wie kleardernôch it favoryt fan de dûnsgroep, mei’t hja suchten mar tagelyk ek nocht hienen om te dûnsjen op it flugge liet. It entûsjaste klappen wie net mear as fertsjinne mei’t de airco de keamer ûnder it dûnsjen mar krekt ûnder de tritich graden hâlde koe.

When the costumes are stiffened and ready again, the group of dancers is ready to perform at cultural activities, German events and even weddings. They do this for fun, and there is a non-written rule: “We expect to drink and eat at the event.” Sounds fair enough. We could get a glimpse of the folkdances, as one night the Forum was visited by a Chinese exchange student and he wished to see the group perform, so members rallied up despite the heat. A laptop full of traditional music was turned on and four couples took the dancefloor. After two songs, sweat was pouring in the stuffy room, but after the student wished for more, a third song started to play and it was clearly a favourite of the dance group, as they sighed but were eager to dance on this up-beat song. A round of applause was certainly in place as the air-conditioning got the room just below the thirty degrees during the dances.

It wie nijsgjirrich dat der in Sineeske studint wie. Foar ús as Friezen is it makliker om de situaasje fan in oare minderheid te begripen, mei’t wy it mei ússels ferlykje kinne (en om’t wy ús mei minderheden en besibbe ûnderwerpen dwaande hâlde). It wie foar him lykwols ynearsten al in kultuersjok om yn Roemenië te wêzen, of sels yn Europa. Dêr kaam nochris it Dútske Foarum boppe-op, it wie dúdlik dat hy der muoite mei hie om te begripen wat it doel (oars as minsken op befel dûnsje litte) fan sa’n minderheidsynstitút. Mar it belang fan sa’n Foarum kin net beskreaun wurde. It is in plak dêr’t Dútske (en Roemeenske) jongerein byinoar komme kin en sa yn in tige ûntspannende en iepen sfear mei de Dútske taal, tradysjes en dûnsen yn kontakt komme. It mei sa wêze dat de Dútske taal ûnder druk stiet, mei’t der ek lju komme dy’t net by de Dútske minderheid hearre en der sadwaande gau op it Roemeensk oergien wurdt (dat sjogge wy ek by Friezen dy’t switsje nei it Nederlânsk), is it likegoed in foarrjocht dat der sa’n plak is dêr’t lykstimde minsken komme. Foaral om’t it foar jeugd is, is sa’n foarum in kamke yn it gruttere kamrêd om de Dútske minderheid geande te hâlden en dêrmei ek de multykulturele identiteit dy’t yn dy regio te finen is. Is it fierders ek net gewoan cool om in simmer lang tafeltennis of boerdspultsjes te dwaan en tuskentroch rokken te stiivjen om letter yn it jier wer mei dyn freoneploech der op ’en út te gean en op ferskate eveneminten yn Roemenië en oanbuorjende lannen te dûnsjen, iten en drinken te krijen wylst dyn Dútske kultuer stipest en der oer learst. Wy fine fan wol.

It was interesting though that there was a Chinese student visiting the Forum. For us as Frisians, it is easier to understand the situation of another minority, as we can relate it to ourselves (and spent much time on minorities and minority topics too). However, for him it was a culture shock already to just arrive in Romania, or even Europe. And on top of that was this German Forum, which was clearly difficult for him to understand the purpose of such a minority institute (other than people performing on request). But the importance of such a Forum cannot be expressed. It is a place where German (and Romanian) youth can get together and get in touch in a very relaxed and open way with the German language, traditions, and dance. Though the German language was a bit under pressure as members are not always from the German minority and people easily switch to Romanian (something we see too with Frisians who switch to Dutch), it is still of an advantage that there is a place where like-minded people come. Especially as it is for youth, such a forum is a cog in the bigger system to uphold the German minority in Romania and with it, the multicultural identity that can be found in this region. And then again, isn’t it cool to spend a summer playing Ping-Pong or board games and stiffening skirts in between so you can later go on the road with your group of friends and dance at different events throughout Romania and neighbouring countries, getting food and drinks while you’re supporting and learning all about (your) German culture? We would say so.

937 - Arad (RO)

One thought on “Tänze, Spiele und Deutsch in Arad

  1. Pingback: Blog Geart Tigchelaar: Tänze, Spiele und Deutsch in Arad | ensafh

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s