Many researchers agree that “myth… is the counterpart of ritual; myth implies ritual, ritual implies myth, they are one and the same.” (E. R. Leach 1954: 13-14), while others may not agree that myth derives from ritual or the other way around, but are essentially connected. G. Kirk recommends cautiousness when associating myth and ritual as their “relations are complex and varied…” but if mythical and folkloric material cooperate the story, rite-myth gets validation. (Kirk 1970:16-17) Earlier, V. Propp (1957) extended the field maintaining that fairy tales are the text that accompanied rituals.
There seems to be a general consensus amongst the population that Romania is not good enough, that it is better to live in other places and that it will never catch up to the rest of Europe. I find it very sad to hear this view so often and it seems almost impossible to change it. I wish that the Romanian population could see in their country what I do – a stunning natural environment where, with hard work and perseverance anything is possible, just like in the rest of the world. I was born and grew up in Australia and my family are all still there, but I never felt connected to the land and its history or community. I had to travel over 15000 kilometres to find my place – Romania.
Out of all the definitions scholars gave to the concept of a modern nation the one that best fits our approach refers to the nation as a “virtual community”. We understand “nation” as a mental construct based on a set of symbols.
The present study will make reference to one of these icons, which is the female embodiment of a nation. The subject of our analysis is Romanian society during the XIXth Century. There are two objectives to be pursued: the first is to reveal the historical context in which Romanian artists felt the need to represent the nation in a woman’s body and, secondly, to see if this new national perspective in regard to women was a consequence of the changes registered in the general perception of women’s place and role in Romanian society.
The powerful mythical figure of Neolithic, the Great Goddess, survived in the Indo-European pantheon, with characteristics surfacing in almost all the feminine divinities of the classical mythologies. In the Romanian folklore one can recognize this pre-historic goddess in the character of Ileana Simziana, the most adorned fairy of the land. She is the heroine of numerous songs, carols, and fairy tales; the most beautiful of all fairies, their queen, so beautiful that ‘one could look at the sun but not at her’. Other feminine characters in Romanian folklore are the fairies, zâne, beautiful and kind, helping people. They are opposed by Iele (3rd plural personal pronoun iele) ‘they’, fairies that could turn very aggressive towards mankind; perhaps some of the demonic and chimerical depictions of the Neolithic Goddess, her relationship with death and destruction, have transpired into the characteristics of this group of fairies with negative powers.
The musicological byzantine literature of the nineteenth century is full of creative personalities who, revaluating the structures canonically established through the Chrisantic reform, became visible in the world of Psalter through the creative refinement and the special capacity of infinite variation of the rhetorical models adopted by the Orthodox Church.
The study of children’s games and toys by the Romanian researchers gained momentum in the second half of the 19th century with the studies of Petre Ispirescu and Alexandru Lambrior, followed by George Ion Pitio, Ion Muolea, Ovidiu Bârlea and Narcisa atiucã. They pleaded with convincing arguments for the idea that the game and toys are a materialization of the surrounding reality. In their games, children draw on everything that surrounds them; they copy their parents’ life and build “a miniature universe” of their own after the model of the adults’ world.