First Book Review for Transylvania’s History A to Z

Transylvania book travel time

First review for my latest book, Transylvania’s History A to Z, comes from lovely Bonnie of Bonnie Reads and Writes.

“Transylvania’s History A to Z by Patricia Furstenberg is a wonderful combination of stories, photos, history, and legends about Transylvania, Romania.”

Bonnie Reads and Writes

– writes Bonnie, and she put a huge smile on my face. I am ever so grateful to Bonnie for choosing to read my new book and write a review!

Do click on the link below and read her thoughts:

Self-Published Saturday: September 4, 2021/Transylvania’s History A to Z

Thank you for reading 🙂

Happy Romanian Language Day, 31st August

Transylvania, Romania, Its Origin and Etymology, fir tree symbology in Romanian folklore

Happy Romanian Language Day, today 31st of August, celebrated by twenty million Romanians plus ten million Romanians living outside Romania’s borders…

Why celebrate? Even with a thought, because the language we took our first steps through forms the code that keeps our spiritual DNA together.

Why only Romanians speak a Latin language in southeast Europe? people usually ask me. Well, I wrote is a little explanation on my blog here. You can also enjoy Romanian folklore, myths and legends on my blog here and time-travel into Romania’s past or take virtual travel trips to Romania here.

Oh, This Sweet Language of Ours

100-word Story about the Romanian Language, a book extract from Transylvania’s History A to Z

“The shepherd, bushy moustache hanging like sunset’s haze over his lips, thumbs thrust in his wide belt, wears a woolly hat, a sheep-skin thrown a-back.
A curtain of fir-trees hangs between him and his hamlet, alive along a brook steaming like a dragon’s swampy breath. A dragon he’d tamed, as says the Doina tune he whistles.
From childhood-cradle to colt years, his life moved between the sheepfold and the shepherd’s hearth. Making cheese and whey-cheese; keeping company with Dog who brings him great joy, although it never knew the collar.
Not a taintless, or a barren life either. But glad.”

Copyright © Patricia Furstenberg. All Rights Reserved.

cioban frm Hunedoara, Transylvania, Dacian origin

I translated for you two old Romanian verses:

“Codru’ este mare
Si lumina n-are;
Codru este des
Intri, nu mai iesi…”

“The woodland is wide
And has no light;
The woodland is thick
You enter, never to leave…”

Romanian ritualistic song, translated from Romanian by Patricia Furstenberg
Romanian folk aphorism about trees and forest
Codru’ este mare Si lumina n-are; Codru este des Intri, nu mai iesi…” “The woodland is wide And has no light; The woodland is thick You enter, never to leave…

“Sufletul statea
Si mi se ruga:
Brade, brade!
Sa-mi fii frate:
Intinde-ti, intinde,
Eu sa le pot prinde
Varfurile tale,
Sa trec peste ele”

“My soul stopped
And it implored:
Fir tree, fir tree!
My brother thou be:
Spread thou, spread
Your tree tops shed,
May I over ’em fled.”

Romanian ritualistic song, translated from Romanian by Patricia Furstenberg
Transylvania, Romania, Its Origin and Etymology, fir tree symbology in Romanian folklore
Codrul Frate cu Romanu’ – The Woodland, Romanian’s Brother

Romanians all over the world will spend a minute today, I hope, thinking of “oh, this sweet language of ours”, as Romanian is ever so melodious. Thank you for taking the time to learn a bit bout my mother tongue.

When do you celebrate your native language?

Would you like to learn a Romanian word or expression? Ask me 🙂

O zi a Limbii Române fericită vă doresc!

Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories

Transylvania’s unspoiled natural beauty, its tumultuous history, and the people who touched it are depicted in this book.
Patricia Furstenberg uses the confining rules of the 100-word story form to stirringly capture Transylvania, Romania’s historical and geographical region.

Publication Day, Transylvania’s History A to Z, 100 Word Stories

Happy Publication Day to me, Transylvania’s History A to Z, 100 Word Stories is LIVE on Amazon as eBook and paperback.

Happy Publication Day to me, Transylvania’s History A to Z, 100 Word Stories is LIVE on Amazon as eBook and paperback.

An Amazon preview of Transylvania’s History A to Z, 100 Word Stories:

In Transylvania’s History A to Z, a collection of 100-word stories sprinkled with breathtaking photographs, Patricia Furstenberg uses the confining rules of the 100-word story form to stirringly capture Transylvania, Romania’s historical and geographical region.

Transylvania’s unspoiled natural beauty, its tumultuous history, and the people who touched it are depicted in this book.
Written as snapshots, tall tales, and descriptive narratives, these 100-word stories are the espresso of creative writing.

A – Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1
Each 100 Words Story is followed by a brief historical reference

The unique beauty of a 100-word story is in the way the words are strung together, each one a gem, and in the spaces left between the words, and between the sentences. So much can be told, with little words. It is a challenge for the writer, and a thrill for the reader, as each time the tale is read, a new detail springs to mind.

“As an armchair historian, I love researching lost tales, traveling, exploring hidden corners, and unearthing new facts, forgotten characters, or hidden clues. I love to give them a voice and to bring them into the light in my tales. Be it people, animals, or the land and its architecture, no detail is too small, no voice is too soft. What was once overlooked now brings history alive in my historical or contemporary fiction books and short stories, such as the 100-Word Stories based on the history of Transylvania.” (Patricia Furstenberg)

100-word stories included in Transylvania’s History A to Z:

A Paleolithic Murder
Behind the Cave Art
Conduct in a Neolithic Kingdom
Dacian Horses of Bronze Age
Echoes of a Battle, the Getae
Falx vs Gladius, Dáoi vs Romans
Greed, of the Roman Kind
Hope Has Multiple Faces
Immortalis, the Immortal
Jottings on a Tree
Kaleidoscope by Castra Micia, Hunedoara
Laudable Attempt, to Some Extent
Motives of Christianity
New Footprints on Old Land
Oh, This Sweet Language of Ours
Powerful Tahutum Wants Transylvania
Quest Beyond the Forest
Romanian’s Brother, the Woodland
Sincerely, your m-DNA, Mitochondrial DNA
Ţara is Terra
Under the Threat of Crusades
Vlad the Impaler
Wars with Ottomans
X, I Sign My Letter with a Cross
Year of Our Lord, 1848
Zest for Peace and Unity

Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories – CLICK on the image to go straight to your Amazon of choice.

Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories
Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories – CLICK on the image to go straight to your Amazon of choice.

You can read more of my stories about Transylvania on my blog here.

COVER REVEAL, Transylvania’s History 100-Word Stories and Photos and Giveaway!

cover reveal 100 word stories Transylvania's history and book giveaway

Welcome to the COVER REVEAL for Transylvania’s History, 100-Word Stories and Photos and Giveaway!

Many of you may remember the 100-word stories I started publishing on this blog. The idea came to mind to finish the A to Z series inspired by snippets from Transylvania’s history and, together with snapshots from my travels, to publish them in a book.

Thus, A – Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1

Read on to the COVER REVEAL…

How the Giveaway works:

STEP !: Make sure you Follow my blog if you don’t do so already.

STEP 2: Comment on this blog post with something you know or have learned about Transylvania – it can be something you read on my blog – and you will be entered in the Giveaway!

(Giveaway closes on Saturday, 21 August, 6am GMT)
This Competition is now closed.

Read on to the COVER REVEAL…

What do you WIN in the Giveaway? An e-Book copy of my upcoming book!

Read on to the COVER REVEAL…

Here are the 100-word stories that were edited and made it into the book, along with others. Just click on an image to read it.

Paleolithic Murder in Transylvania 100 words story
Following a timeline of prehistorical discoveries, Conduct in a Neolithic Kingdom is a 100 words story inspired by Transylvania's history
Echoes of a Battle, Getae, Romania

Read on to the COVER REVEAL…

falx gladius Daoi Romans
Greed, of the Roman Kind, 100 words story

Read on to the COVER REVEAL…

hope has multiple faces, Roman history, 100 words story
Immortalis, the Immortal Căluşarii Dance 100 words story

Cover Reveal for A – Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1 – almost there!

In Transylvania’s History A to Z, a collection of 100-word stories sprinkled with breathtaking photographs, Patricia Furstenberg uses the confining rules of the 100-word story form to stirringly capture Transylvania, Romania’s historical and geographical region.

Transylvania’s unspoiled natural beauty, its tumultuous history, and the people who touched it are depicted in this book.
Written as snapshots, tall tales, and descriptive narratives, these 100-word stories are the espresso of creative writing.

The unique beauty of a 100-word story is in the way the words are strung together, each one a gem, and in the spaces left between the words, and between the sentences. So much can be told, with little words. It is a challenge for the writer, and a thrill for the reader, as each time the tale is read, a new detail springs to mind.

Cover Reveal for A – Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1:

COVER REVEAL Transylvania's History Giveaway, A - Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1

UK Amazon Link
US Amazon Link
Canada Amazon Link
India Amazon Link
Australia Amazon Link
Germany Amazon Link

Release day Monday, the 23rd of August, exclusive to Amazon.

Remember the Giveaway!

Thank you for taking part in the COVER REVEAL for Transylvania’s History, 100-Word Stories and Photos and Giveaway!

The Old Bear in Romanian Mythology and Folklore

The Old Bear in Romanian Mythology and Folklore

The good, old bear, or the grizzly ursine, populated Romanian mythology since the times of the Thracians, and tales of its powers and wisdom have left their paw-prints on the Romanian folklore too.

The bear as a totem, as a symbol of one’s ancestry, was an animal revered by ancient Thracian religion, alongside the wolf. Why, it is even whispered in legends that the great Zalmoxix, the god worshiped by Geto-Dacians, was wrapped in a bear’s skin right after his birth. To soak up the power and the strength of the great beast, and perhaps even its endurance.

It isn’t a coincidence then that the bear held an important place in the beliefs and conscience of peoples all over the world. In the Celtic world, the bear was the symbol of warriors and even the root of its Celtic name, artos, sends us to the myth of the bear-goddess Artio and even tothe legend of King Arthur.

In the folklore of Siberia and Alaska, the bear is the beastly equivalent of the Moon as it disappears in late autumn only to reappear in spring. Here, plenty are those who consider the bear as man’s ancestor.

The Bear in Romanian Mythology

gold Dacian Helmet from Cotofenesti has with apotropaic powers

In Romanian mythology the bear is invested with apotropaic powers, able to avert evil influences or to turn around bad luck. While his presence, his spirit, also hold therapeutic and meteorological virtues.

As a result, the Bear Dance emerged. The choreography, as well as the symbology of the bear mask used, of the strength it inspires, depict both death and resurrection, nature’s natural cycle that no one can escape from. After all, the bear always defeats winter – this cruel mistress that leaves little but ice and snow along her path – and announces the forthcoming spring.

The Bear Dance represents the reminiscent of a pagan ritual and one can still observe it today in villages from Moldavian and Bucovina, in north-east of Romania.

Thus, on New Year’s Eve a sleuth of bears can be observed parading and dancing along the main road. Accompanied by drummers, pan flutes musicians, and whistles blowers, under the command of a bear tamer, the Bear Dance is supposed to bring a fertile New Year to the crowds of cheerful onlookers.

The Old Bear in Romanian Mythology and Folklore

Much like the old year will soon fade, taking its ailments with it, during their dance the bears die and come back to life. Like the New Year will, stronger and happier.

Folk belief goes that the life cycle of the bear is responsible for regulating nature’s seasons. Not a coincidence then that the movement of the Ursa Major constellation is also closely connected to the sequence of the seasons.

During the 18th and the 19th century bear tamers were often seen along the roads of many European mountain villages. Apart from bringing good luck and spreading strength by their sheer presence, bears were, sadly, taught many tricks too. Luckily, no more life bears on a chain roam the country paths today.

The Bear in Romanian Folklore

In folk tales and legends the bear is indeed depicted as a peculiar creature. But how could they not? Bearing their cubs in the middle of winter; choosing to return to their burrows if the weather turns sunny; choosing forest paths over hibernation if glacial weather advances… Yet there is more. Bears would easily destroy a man-made bridge, yet knock over a tree if a river stops them in their pursuit of food.

Thus, Romanian folklore has associated the bear’s unpredictable behavior with the capricious weather looming between the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

Bear tales…

Bears were believed to heal, through their presence or touch, ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism, or fevers. For example in the area near Suceava, Moldavia, they say that if you allow a bear to step on the small of your back (and survive), you will be saved from any other diseases.

Bears could even heal the evil touch of Ielele, the evil eye, or bad spells. But a bear’s robust step was also meant to bring fertility and good fortune to a young family. Of course, once a bear stepped in one’s farmyard, no evil spirit or wild beast will ever set foot in it again. Makes sense…

Ursarii, bear-tamers of the 19th century Europe in a snowed Romanian village.
Old Postcard. Ursarii, bear-tamers of the 19th century Europe in a snowed Romanian village.

I can see now why the bear tamer was always welcomed in people’s yards, and in their homes. To have the bear dance on your property was considered auspicious, and many cheerful days were lined up ahead for your kin.

So, dreamed of a bear lately? Know that you’re in good luck!

Thus, there are a few important dates in Romanian folklore when the Bear, Moş Martin, is celebrated. Here are a few of them.

Theodor Aman, Ursarul (Bear Tamer)
Theodor Aman, 19th century Romanian artist, Ursarul (Bear Tamer)

The Winter Martinii, or San-Martini

Celebrated 40 days after Christmas, between the 1st and the 3rd of February, this celebration is meant to protect livestock and humans against any wolf or bear attacks.

The Bear’s Day, Stretenia (Feats of Presentation), or the telling of a coming spring

Bear’s Day (Ziua Ursului) is celebrated on 2nd February, coinciding with the Christian celebration of the Feast of Presentation, or Stretenia.

The ancestral origin of Stretenia

Stretenia is a celebration as old as the seasons. For it is now when winter and spring stare each other in the eyes. They finally meet again: from the old Slavic word for meeting, greeting, vstrecea –> vstrecenie –> stratenie.

Yet there is another layer to it.

During roman times it was now, in February, that one would prepare oneself, purify oneself to welcome the New Year, celebrated on the 1st of March. Ahead of new field labors meant to start soon, the purification was made with water and fire. Today, candles are used during the Feast of Presentation.

Stretenia, telling the weather

If the bear comes out of his hibernation on this day it means that spring is on its way – even if it’s cold and foggy, even if it snows. The summer will plentiful, the harvest enough for all. But if the bear spots its own shadow on the snow, he will return to its lair for an extra long nap. About 40 days long. Thus, spring is still a long way away.

It clear now why the winter celebrations are connected to the bear ending its hibernation; by following the bear’s behavior, farmers knew when the warm season was approaching.

Interesting to note is that a good wine is said to have bear’s power, while in Romanian folk tradition on the 1st of February Saint Trifon is observed, the protector of vineyards and orchards.

The Bear’s Saturday (Sâmbăta Ursului) – during Easter fasting

Women, especially, celebrated Bear’s Saturday to protect themselves against any beats when rummaging for berries, in summer. So during Bear’s Saturday no one would even whisper the beast’s name. People would not do any work either, so that their cattle and children stay protected against the brown bear.

This Saturday was also considered best for collecting medicinal and magic herbs. for only if picked today do they keep their powers. Like this: when the healing plant was found, a cross was made over it, and a prayer was told. The root was dug out, and in its place a crumb of bread was placed, wetted with a few drops of red wine.

The Old Bear in Romanian Mythology and Folklore

Celebrating the bear in summer

The summer bear’s celebration is connected to honey/ fruit harvest and the peak of the bear mating season – a time when bears move around more than usual and they may accidentally come across humans. Which is why on these days of celebration no work should be performed. On August 13, a special celebration is held, honey pies and wine sweetened with honey are consumed, in the belief that it will protect both livestock and farmers against bear attacks during the honey and fruit and berry harvest (since honey and fruits are part of the bear’s diet). A blessed time, summer preparing for winter by reaping autumn’s bounty.

Romania still holds the largest and most spectacular wilderness of Europe. Its vast ancient forests still grow atop great mountains that reach up and kiss the sky (the Carpathians are 1600 km long, 2544 meters in height). Its winding waters twist and turn among lush flower beds (a third of Europe’s bouquet), and beasts from myth and legend, like the old bear, still roam free.

I’m asking you then, who is the king of animals in Europe?

As always, you can discover my books on Amazon.

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