What is Great Union Day?

15 Nov 2022 - Category: Blog /
romanian independence

Romanian Independence Day, also known as Great Union Day, is a significant occasion in the calendars of Romanian people around the world every year. It is an opportunity for Romanians, wherever they are based, to get together and celebrate.

Great Union Day is also a chance for Romanians, and people of the Romanian diaspora around the world, to remember their shared history and connect with their Romanian heritage.

But, how is Great Union Day celebrated today? What does independence mean to Romanians? And when is Great Union Day? In this blog we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about Romanian independence day including:

When is Great Union Day?

Great Union Day, also known as Independence Day or Unification Day, is a national holiday that takes place on the 1st of December every year. It is held to celebrate the unification of the Romanian Kingdom.

The day is a significant occasion for Romanians and those of the Romanian diaspora. It is a public holiday in Romania and is celebrated by Romanians all around the world.

Great Union Day is commemorated throughout the country with parades, events, ceremonies and parties. The National Military Parade is a patriotic occasion that occurs every year on Great Union Day and is observed by people from all over Romania.

Why is Great Union Day celebrated?

Great Union Day is celebrated on December 1 every year to mark the independence of Romania and the unification of Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania with the Romanian Kingdom.

This date has been special ever since the Alba Iulia National Assembly in 1918. Following the First World War, a national assembly was held between Romanians of Transylvania and Hungary. The assembly consisted of 1,228 elected representatives of Romanians from across the region. During the assembly all members voted to uphold democratic values and outlined the “fundamental principles for the foundation of a new Romanian State”.

Key to the national assembly was that representatives agreed to democratic local autonomy for Romanian cultures as well as the equality of all religions and nationalities. Over a hundred years later these principles, and this particular event, continues to be celebrated. Indeed, Great Union Day is a way of highlighting and commemorating the peaceful union of Romanian cultures within the region.

The 1st of December was declared a national public holiday in 1990. For the previous fifty years, unification and independence was instead celebrated on the 18th of August. In the twenty-first century, Great Union Day continues to be celebrated because it is a moment for the whole nation to come together. On the 1st of December Romanians can remember their history, honour those who fought for unification in the past and those who continue to contribute to the development of Romania today.

How do Romanians Celebrate Independence Day?

So, now you know a bit about the history of Great Union Day in Romania, what about the actual celebrations?

Some of the key Great Union Day traditions include military parades, parties, cultural events and public broadcasts. Here are a few of the ways Romanians and those from the Romanian diaspora mark the day:

  • Parties

Some of the most important Great Union Day traditions are the parties that fill the streets and homes of Romanians throughout the country and the wider region. Flags are flown and tables are filled with food as cities around the country mark the national holiday with activities infused with patriotism.

  • National Military Parade

On Great Union Day the National Military Parade of the Romanian Armed Forces. This national televised event takes place either on the grounds of Constitution Square or on Soseaua Kiseleff in central Bucharest. Parades are also held in other major cities like Alba Iulia. As with most military parades the centrepiece of the event is the marches set to traditional music played by the military band.

  • Flag waving

Flag waving is a big part of Great Union Day in Romania. The national flag is blue, yellow and red with each colour representing a different province of Romania: Transylvania (blue), Wallachia (yellow) and Moldavia (red). The flag is one of the most important symbols of the country and will be a key feature of most parties and parades on the 1st of December.

3 interesting facts about Romania

  • Romania is home to the tallest wooden church. The 257 ft tall church is also the second tallest wooden structure in Europe. Found in Sapanta Peri in northwestern Romania, the incredibly tall structure is also topped by a 23 ft cross that weighs around 1,000lbs.
  • The Romanian language is 1,700 years old. Romanian society is ancient and their language also has ancient origins dating to the Old Latin languages spoken in the Roman provinces of Southeastern Europe.
  • There are four Roman Nobel Prize laureates. Over the years many Romanians have been recognised for their achievements. In particular, four Romanians have been awarded Nobel Prizes: George Emil Palade (medicine), Herta Müller (literature), Stefan Hell (chemistry) and Elie Wiesel (peace).

What is the best way to send money to Romania?

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