Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bánffyhunyad/Huedin-October 21, 2008

I was thankful for this stop not only to break up the monotony of traveling and only stopping at gas stations through Hungary and Romania, but for its cultural substance and for the minister who gave us a great start to the trip by explaining the recent history of the area in a church that goes back to the strength of Hungarians in Erdély.

This traditional Hungarian Protestant church had two sets of carved hand carved and painted ceilings. The motifs are that of the traditional Székely culture and include pre-Christian symbols. The entire church was also bedecked in embroidery from the community. The traditional colors of this artform are black, white, red and blue. The only way embroidery survived as strongly as it did was that it was passed down from women to girls within the church community. A peice of embroidery was made for baptisims and especially for confirmations. The funeral wreath of Kossuth Lajos is also enshrined here, as his memorial took place in this church.

This was especially important during the time of the Ceauşescu regime during which ethnic Hungarians were not allowed to speak Hungarian in public and the church became the only safe place for their culture. In essence Ceauşescu attempted to erase one of the most historically entrenched cultures of the Transylvanian region from its future. As this is a very controversial subject I'll limit the remainder of my comments. Suffice to say this was a moving site, and a great introduction to the region.
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