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January 15th is a special day for us Romanians. This is because we celebrate the birthday (1850) of Mihai Eminescu, Romania's greatest and most representative poet. His poems are mostly Romantic, but span a large range of themes, from nature and love to history and social commentary. His best-known poem, Luceafarul ("Morning Star"") is probably one of the poems any Romanian could partially recite. You can find more info on Eminescu (in English) here or here.

Many poets and novelists wrote tributes to Eminescu, but probably the most well-known is Marin Sorescu's poem "They had to have a name":

There was only a fine country
On the shore of a sea,
Where the waves tie white knots
In the uncombed beard of a king-
Like waters, like flowing trees
In which the moon had its round nest.
And more particularly there were some simple people
Whose names were: Mircea the Old, Stephen the Great,
Or plainer still: shepherds and ploughmen,
Who-of an evening, around the fire-
Enjoyed reciting poems:
"The Little Ewe-Lamb" and "Hyperion" and "The Third Epistle".
.........................................................
There were moreover deep forests
And a youth who would talk with them,
Asking them why they swayed without a breath of wind?
..................................................................................
Also there were some linden-trees,
And the young couple who knew
How to make their blossoms snow
Into a kiss.
And some birds or some clouds
Which kept floating over them,
Like long, soft-moving plains.

And since all of these
Had to have a name,
One name alone,
They were named
Eminescu.

(translator unknown, the full poem in Romanian here)

The photo is taken last Summer in Iasi's Copou Gardens, one of Eminescu's preferred places. The statue shows Eminescu at his peak creation time, and is located under the linden tree - it is where he used to meditate and/or write his poems. That linden tree is very old now, propped to resist weather, but still alive and revered as one of the major attractions of the City. You can see it better in the workshop image.

While technically far from perfect (I only had 4-5 hours day to visit the city of Iasi, around noon under a harsh sun), these are images I'll always cherish as a symbol of the Romanian culture that I love so much. I thought, dear reader, that I could share them with you as a little token of the Romanian culture. Hope you find them interesting...

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Additional Photos by Catalin Moraru (cmoraru) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 140 W: 26 N: 162] (557)
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