Author: cursedtraveler

Mourning- the tradition of wearing black after someone passes away and not only.

Today I will take you on a new trip to learn more about traditions; grab my hand, and let’s go. I will tell you how we got to wear black when someone died and a period after. I will tell you about some practices we and some other people have.
As you may imagine, this tradition is ancient and met in many populations. We Romanian have it, Greeks have it, Romans had it, and so on.
Besides the black color at the time, white was also used as the mourning color.
But let’s see why these colors?
First, maybe you will say that it is because, like that, you show your pain for your loss. And that is true.
We have rules about how long people should wear black or do other things after someone close dies. In my country, you should wear black for a year if one of your parents dies or your husband, 6 weeks for children that died and 3 days for the other relatives.
You can wear all black or just something added to your clothes, like a little piece of fabric stuck with a pin or a black headband as a woman.
Other things that might show that you are in mourning might depend on where you live, like not wearing something on your head, like a hat, even in winter ( we had this long ago in the Moldovian part)
Like in some places, people won’t wash clothes after someone dies to not bring the dirt on the dead soul. In some parts of the country, people won’t wash clothes for a year from when the relative dies. Or you can’t as a woman brush your hair, or you might get death.
Men shouldn’t cut their hair or beard or drink with locals.
Black is used for mourning, warning those alive that death is near. Wearing black is supposed to make you invisible to the dead. So the dead one won’t be able to see you and take you with him on a never-ending trip of death. Or won’t try to hurt or molest you (that if your relative starts to have evil thoughts after death and wants revenge on you). Some say that being protected from the dead is like a protection spell. The same applies to white, even if ordinarily white is seen as a bright color associated with life. It seems white was used for Romanians even back in the old times. Used to even prepare the dead one to travel to the other world.
White is the color that means both life and the beginning of the life journey when you are baptized and death, as I just said.
Over time, other colors were used for mourning time. Another that was used was yellow, which represented the decayed color. It was used by the Egyptians to show their pain. The same color was used by the locals from Central Africa and British widows. In Britain, it was used by widows by wearing a yellow or brown bonnet- the color of faded leaves.
Blue or violet was the black of Turkeys. Blue was also used in France and Belgium when a child died, representing the color of the blue sky and the color Mother of God wore on Golgota.
Violet represents the color that the Roman soldiers dressed Jesus as the king of the Jews and from then is the color that the Church adopted in the paintings and ornaments of the Catholic Church.
At the time, the mourning wasn’t expressed just by wearing a specific color. In ancient times in Romans, women were primarily hired to cry singly after the dead. Sometimes it was just a cry. Other times could be more crying and saying the brave deeds that the dead one did in his life. This kind of crying bore the name neniae from the Roman goddess Nenia who was always invoked after the sick one was heading on a deadly journey. This kind of cry starts first by whispering his name into the dead one ear to see if he is answering. If he was dead and not talking back, the women would say the words Conclamatum est. This kind of tradition is still held today in Catholic Church when the Pope is dying. After he is dead, they will call his baptized name 3 times, and then if he is not answering, they will say he is dead.
Another tradition that is still kept is putting some food for the deceased, more precisely, some flour and a cup of water. The gone soul should be on earth for the first 40 days and travel to all the places he liked and lived, and for that, he needs food, so people will put some flour and water. If the plate with flour appears to be little signs or a bit messed up and the water less than it was at first, then it means you have been visited by the dead one. Besides this, you should give food away for his soul to eat to people in need or people not related to you. The food will be given for the first 9 days every day. Later, food will be given for 9 days with coliva ( a sweet dessert made of boiled pearl barley with sugar and mixed with flavors), then at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 1 year, and a half, and then every 6 months until 7 years. At 1 year commemoration, the dead will also receive clothes besides food. The same will be on the significant commemoration of the 7th year when he or she will receive food and clothes again, and people will be brought for a small gathering with food.

Lilith- first woman

Today I shall take you on a trip in time. We will go back in history at the start of times. In biblical times when God created the world and first people. So grab my hand, and let’s go in time. We are in the Eden garden. There is God, the creator of everything. He created many beautiful things, but his garden doesn’t have someone to keep it beautiful. Is too quiet. He needs to create something more. He looks at dust measuring, touching. He gets in his hands two parts of dust. He looks at them and blows on them, saying some incantations. From each hand starts to grow two humans.
One female and another male. God talks to them, telling them to inhabit the beautiful garden called Eden or earth. They look at each other they enjoy the beauty they see around. Everything is so beautiful, so perfect. These two creatures, called Adam and Lilith, grew closer to each other each day. They are the only humans in this beautiful place. They enjoy themself making love, but Adam is the one that likes to be more dominant and the one who wants to decide. Lilith doesn’t like that. She knows that she is made out of the same dust with the same divine blow, so Lilith tells Adam that she wants to decide things to be equal to enjoy both. But Adam, like a nasty child, doesn’t like that he says God blew and created him first and that God prefers him. Lilith doesn’t believe that, so she goes away to find her own path. Lilith grows wings. She becomes something different than Adam. More powerful and not easy to control. When God sees his creation has grown stronger to strong for Adam. He gave him another female who could be more like him and won’t want to grow wings and fly.
God can’t make this one from dust again as he is afraid it will grow wings and fly again, so he is choosing another material this time. He asks Adam to give one of his ribs to make a female feel more attached to Adam and won’t want to leave him. He obeys as he is all alone, so Eve is created. God makes angels flying creatures to keep the link between Eden’s garden and God’s home. In this time, Lilith is experimenting with her powers and her freedom. But God sees that she grows stronger and enjoys too much of the power taste. Lilith can create children like her, powerful to powerful. She starts to obey less God… why should she. She has enough power, but God doesn’t like that, so he sends some angels to kill her children so her army won’t get big. He says to his angels that this is a punishment for not living where he put her. She still finds a way to have more children. She goes to Adam and finds him with another female more obeying from his flesh. Lilith decides to steal some seeds from Adam while he is asleep so she can make more children. And so she does.
Eden garden changed as time passed, and Adam and Eve had children. But for the significant change of Eden, everyone blames Eve for that because they say she gave in to temptation and did the forbidden thing. The only one God said to not do, and Eve did, even more; she corrupted Adam. But Adam was easy to convince even if he knew he shouldn’t. That he should obey God. After tasting the knowledge, both Adam and Eve felt naked, both physical and mental. So many things this garden cold hold that they didn’t see before. After conceived children, their children tasted the power and the possession. So one chooses to send into dust his brother. So humankind knew the first crime.
Lilith, like any mother, would do decided to avenge because God chose to kill her children, so she decided to kill some of God’s creations. So she kills at times newborn. God decided to stop her, so he told Adam and Eve that all the kids they make won’t die if they wear an amulet. Lilith will know God doesn’t let her approach them. She is always flying, trying to get more children to replace hers that angels are killing every day. She is a mother and a powerful creature. A creature that brought many times fear. But also a creature that chose freedom even if for that freedom she had to leave that beautiful place. So God’s creation does have their own mind and their own way to decide even if at times they suffer consequences. Lilith decided to follow her path, got power but suffered because of her children, but she still found a way. Adam and Eve disobeyed and created the world as we know it. Where people decide what to do and what to not do. But also to endure the consequences. So whatever you choose, choose wisely and be always ready to pay the price. But sometimes the price to pay is good to enjoy the freedom, the knowledge, the power… so choose wisely.

Mogosoaia

A new journey is ahead,this time i will take U to a place  not to far from Bucharest. It is situated 10 km from Bucharest , it is a beautiful palace as U will see in the pictures. Around the palace it is a nice park were U can take a walk and admire the view.

But lets  take a walk trough the history of the palace :).

It was built between 1698-1702 by Constantin Brancoveanu( prince of Wallachia) on the land that was owned before by the widow of boyar Mogos, from this the palace was named Mogosoaia .

The palace is in a Romanian Renaissance style or what is also called Brancoveanu style .

The palace became an inn after 1714 when the owner Brancoveanu and his family were executed by the otomans and their wealth confiscated.

The palace  suffered some damage on the Russo-Turkish war between 1768-1774, later it was granted by prince Grigore to his daughter Zoe Mavrocordat. She married George Bibescu, sovereign prince of Wallachia , the palace remained in the family and was renovated by Nicolae Bibescu.

In 1916, the palace was bombed by Germans air forces. Princess Martha spent all her private fortune for reconstruction.

Later in 1920-1930, the palace became the meeting place for politicians and for the international high society.

After the second war in 1945 the palace was forcibly nationalized by communist authorities and the owners were arrested.

In 1957, the palace became a museum, what it is also today .

Coming back to present 🙂 the palace is nice for a walk and to admire some nice architecture. Also at the basement of the palace U can see the walls that belonged to the Vacaresti monastery  and read a bit about the history of this monastery. Talking about monasteries and churches there is one in the garden of the palace .

U can also go up in the tower and admire everything from up, the view is really beautiful as U would see in the pictures,or U can just take a walk and admire the view of the lake .

I hope U will enjoy the view and maybe come to really visit it!

The Old Court in Bucharest

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I will start my story in a simple way and I hope my reader won’t get bored. I’ll just tell you a few things about București (Bucharest), which remains my favorite city.

Many will say it’s an ugly city, very crowded and very loud at times, but I think if you will take a walk and start exploring it, you will find a beautiful town that waits for you to discover. If you like history and old architecture you will probably agree.

First a bit of history about it so you can know what you can expect on this little journey where I try to convince you how nice my city is.

The legend say that the city got its name from a shepherd called Bucur who came in this place and liked it so much that he settled here. We have a little church and a market with that name but we’ll talk about those later.

Another legend that it’s more likely to be based on real facts tells that București was founded by Neagu Voda, the one that founded and ruled Wallachia around 1290. Another legend says that București was founded somewhere in the 14th century by Mircea the Elder, the ruler of Wallachia from 1386 to 1418.

The historical document where the name București appears for the first time is in the year 1459 in a property document during the reign of  Vlad the Impaler, the guy that everyone knows as Dracula. It’s a pity he wasn’t a real vampire because we might have won all the fights against the turks who were always visiting us.

At that time București wasn’t yet the capital of Romania… but then we didn’t have yet what we call today Romania. Back then it was just Wallachia, Moldova and Transilvania, different countries ruled by different rulers. At that time, the capital of Wallachia was Targoviște. Soon București becomes a summer residence of the princely court. During the reign of Radu cel Frumos ( the Handsome ) București becomes the capital of Wallachia.

Between 1459 and 1660 București and Targoviște swapped places as Wallachia’s ruler’s residence. After 1659 București becomes the only capital.

That’s the beginning of București. I will tell you more later. Now, I’ll take you to my first stop, a place full of history, the old Princely Court. It is situated in the old center of București. Probably if you never heard of it you will just walk by without giving it a chance. But if you are in the center near it you should go and take a look.

It is the oldest building in București, probably built but Mircea the Elder and made bigger by other rulers over the time.

Here you can have a look at some pictures of how it looks now, after more than 600 years after it was constructed.

The old Princely Court, that probably dates from the 14th century, was the residence of the wallachian rulers starting around that time. Since then, the court suffered many reconstructions and periods when it was badly damaged.

Over the time, when the rulers rebuilt it, they’ve made it bigger and nicer. This happen mostly when the country was ruled by Laiota Basarab, Mircea Ciobanul ( the Shepard ), Patrascu cel Bun ( the Good ) and Matei Basarab.

In 1660 the ottomans pillaged the palace damaging it badly. We don’t know the exact how it looked prior it’s reconstruction.

Later, in Șerban Cantacuzino’s reign,1678 to 1688, it was added a new building in the north of the palace.

At the beginning of the 18th century, a big fire damaged the court badly and it was partially abandoned.

Șerban Cantacuzino will completely reconstruct the part built by Laiota Basarab.

Another ruler that improved the looks of the palace was Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688 – 1714). During his reign, the court was looking very elegant. He constructed a new princely manor.

The decline of the court came during the phanariot rule. The phanariots were greek guys brought by the turks to rull us, most of them greedy guys. Before them, the court endured the fires from 1718 and 1719, than the Russian-Austro-Turkish war between 1736 and 1739, the earthquakeof 1738, the Russian-Turkish war between 1768 and 1774. To that you can add the lack of interest of the phanariot rullers for the court.

The history of the princely court used as a palace ends with Alexandru Ipsilanti. In 1775 he builds another court on top of the Spirii hill, somewhere around the actual Parliament palace.

The court was sold by Vodă Constantin Hangerli. The transactions were done between 1798 abd 1799 and it was sold to more than 50 buyers.

In 1847, there is a big fire that burns a big part of București that also affected the court.

In the 19th century, near the court walls appears a lot of new streets full of shops. The place becomes a commercial center. One of the streets near the court gets it’s name “Lipscani” from the merchants that came from Lipsca, the actual Leipzig.

The princely court was restored between 1967 and 1972 and it was made a museum and you can visit it ever since.

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Lerna a vanished gate to the underworld

Today, I will take you to Lerna, a place with a long history, in Greece, of course, where the Gods lay.
We can see a nice ancient archeological site, called The House of Tiles, but before let’s go on the road of history. Lerna was considered the gate to the Underworld. In this region used to be a lake and some springs. The secret of the springs was given to Anymore, daughter of Danaus, by Poseidon himself. According to geographer Strabo, the springs were considered healing waters. The lake that vanished in time was long ago the gate to the Underworld, heroes could gain access to the Underworld, but for the mortals, the lake was perilous. In this lake was the lair of the Lernaean Hydra, the snake with many heads. She was the gatekeeper of the Underworld. There were offerings made for the gatekeeper.
Dionysus, son of the Bull, was summoned with a strange archaic trumpet. A lamb was cast into the waters of Lerna as an offering for the Lernaean Hydra.
Lernaean Hydra had many heads, and if you had cut one, two would grow instead of one. The Lerna Gatekeeper of the Underworld was slain by Heracles, as his second labor as the legend says.

As I said earlier, in the same region is an archeological site called The House of Tiles. The structure dates from the Early Helladic II period (2500-2300 BC), probably was an administrative center or a proto-palace for the elite. The exact function remains unknown.
The house was a massive rectangular two-story-high with a roofed balcony upstairs. The name comes from the baked clay tiles found in its ruins, also known as the earliest roof tiles. Let’s have a walk inside.