Moldova: Amazing things you didn’t know about the culture….

A view of a part of Moldova

Sandwiched between two countries, Romania and Ukraine, Moldova emerged as an independent republic following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The country is one of the poorest countries in Europe, with its economy relying heavily on agriculture. The Modolvan people are Two-thirds of Moldovans and Romanian descent. Infact, both countries share cultural heritage.

These awesome yet unknown people have a Population of 3.5 million whose Major languages are Romanian (called “Moldovan” in official documents) and Russian. Their major religion is Christianity with other traditional religions. They have a life expectancy of 66 years for men and 73 years for women. 

For most people, the name Moldova doesn’t ring a bell and since Ibiene is about celebrating culture, here are some interesting things to know about Moldova;

It’s the least visited country in Europe:

A Vineyard in Moldova

If you take a visit to Moldova for your holidays, you won’t be jostling for space with other tourists as only 121,000 foreigners are reported to have entered the country in 2016. The UN World Tourism Organisation refers to Moldovia as the least visited in Europe. 

 It keeps a fine cellar:

One of the largest wine cellar in Moldovia

It comes as a surprise that the acclaimed least traveled country in Europe is recognised for its world’s largest wine cellar with nearly two million bottles of plonk in its darkened vaults. This recoginition was made by the Guinness World Records. In case you’re wondering, the most valuable tipples in its collection sell for a reported €480 each.

Its wine is banned in Russia:

A vintner harvesting grapes

Russia was Moldova’s biggest wine importer. We’re talking about up to 90 per cent of its wine, was consumed by Russia. However, a diplomatic dispute in 2006 resulted in a Russian ban on Moldovan produce, which has been devastating for its economy. Nevertheless, it remains the 20th largest wine-producing nation on Earth.

It’s the second most alcohol consuming nation on Earth:

A wine cellar

The World Health Organisation has indicated that only Belarus tucks away more alcohol than Moldova. Data from same source showed that each inhabitant drinks an average of 16.8 litres of booze per year. This is excluding the underaged.  

They have a national wine day:

Wine tasting

Well, it’s more of like a two-day event where vintners open up their homes and vineyards to wine lovers on October 3-4 for National Wine Day. Wine tastings are cheap, and there’s even a free bus to shuttle you between wineries. Isn’t that amazing?!

It houses some of the most magnificent monasteries:

One of Moldovian ancient monastery

Moldova’s most important (and, arguably, most beautiful) historical site, Orheiul Vechi is a crumbling open-air monastic complex that dates back over two thousand years. The rambling ruins feature ancient fortifications, baths and monasteries, which can be accessed by tourists.

Its people lived on for nearly three years without a president:

In 2012, after nearly three years of political deadlock, Moldova elected the veteran judge, Nicolae Timofti, as president.

It’s a nation of birds:

A rare bird sighted in a Moldovian bush

Moldova is home to an impressive array of birds, with roughly 300 different species calling it home. Some are there all year-round, some come to breed, some simply pass through en route to warmer climes, and others come to escape harsh winters further north. Bird lovers would love this country.

The national dish is porridge:

Staple Moldovian meal

This meal is called, Mămăligă – porridge made out of yellow maize flour and often considered the country’s national dish. It’s traditionally served as an accompaniment to stews and meat dishes, and is commonly garnished with cottage cheese, sour cream or pork rind. Non-Moldovan inhabitants joke that Moldovans would be unhappy if they could not eat Mămăligă once a week.

You have to take off your shoes:

Footwear at the door

As a guest, when you’re entering someone’s home, it’s considered impolite to leave your shoes on so you’ll have to leave them at the door. This house rule applies in most former Soviet countries, for hygiene reasons. Guests are almost always provided with slippers. So when you visit and someone asks you to take your beautiful shoes off, please oblige them. 

The girl goes to boy’s house before marriage:

A Moldovian bride to be

When a Moldovan young couple decides to marry, the girl usually goes to her boyfriend’s house and stays there for the night. The next day her parents are informed about this, and the families come together to agree on the marriage. For these people, it can take a couple of months before the civil and religious wedding ceremonies are held. Divorce is common but many women have to earn a living on their own after being abandoned by their husbands even without the marriage being officially dissolved.

Women organize daily lives:

A moldovian model

The Moldovan woman, whether in the urban or rural area carry the burden of domestic duties and child care in addition to working outside the home. This is as a result of tradition and economic necessity. So, women engage in domestic food-processing activities in the summer to provide home-canned food for the winter monthsAlthough men seemingly have more decision-making power in the public and private spheres, women act as the organizers of daily and ritual life. They are the ones who organize social gatherings, gift-giving, and official and semi-official events. There are no moral restrictions on women’s participation in public life.
They’ve got longer Christmas celebration:

Modovians celebrating Christmas

Moldovans celebrate Christmas from December 24 to 26, unlike their Russian-Orthodox neighbours whose main event is in January. It is usual for traditional preparations to start in November, with the baking of cakes and the slaughtering of pigs. All these culminate in three days of feasting, parties and gift-giving. Children’s presents are delivered by Mos Craciun – a Santa Claus look alike.

They’re best dressed when they die:

People at at a vault

The dead are dressed in their best clothes and the corpse is watched over for three days by visiting relatives and friends. Specifically, on the ninth, twentieth, and fortieth day and then the third, sixth, and ninth months; and the year after, death are commemorated. This depends on the religion and financial resources of the people concerned. In addition to flowers, wreath or candles, wine is poured on the graves whenever the living relative visits. 

Interesting isn’t it? So, you now have one more location to put on your “should visit” list. 

What other culture can you tell us about? Please share with us in the comment section.

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