Every year on January 24th, Romania celebrates the Union of Romanian Principalities
This Sunday Romanians celebrated 162 years since the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia came together into one state, completed later in 1918.
In Bucharest and elsewhere in the country, symbolic events were held, constrained by pandemic containment measures. Cultural institutions in the country organised theatre productions and concerts, most of them available online. Special religious services were held in all Orthodox churches, and the Defence Ministry organised military ceremonies at various monuments devoted to the Union of Principalities.
In Iaşi (north-east) and Bucharest, the capitals of the 2 provinces that in 1859 elected the same ruler, Alexandru Ioan Cuza (1859 - 1866), several events took place. In a military ceremony in Bucharest, flowers were laid at the foot of the ruler’s statue.
In a message occasioned by the anniversary, president Klaus Iohannis said the heritage of those who fought for the Union to be accomplished in 1859 is the sound foundation on which Romania’s modernisation process must continue, and that one of the key directions in this respect is strengthening the education sector in order for it to provide accessible and high-quality education.
"The Union of Romanian Principalities under Alexandru Ioan Cuza reminds us that the power to meet our goals, as a nation, is rooted in our unity," PM Florin Cîţu said in his turn. "It is united that we have achieved the guarantee of Romania’s one and a half decade-long Euro-Atlantic integration process. It is united that we have proved that we can prevent severe sideslips and can rescue democracy when an oppressive power worked against the people. And it is also united that we will manage to safeguard our health and to help our economy recover after the pandemic," the PM said in a social media post.
162 years on, it is time the Union were completed by Moldavia having proper transport infrastructure, so that it may attract large-scale investments, the Chamber of Deputies Speaker Ludovic Orban said in his turn in a ceremony in Focşani (east).
In fact, in Iași (north-east), the traditional speeches and performances, including the Union Round Dance, were accompanied by a protest organised just before the planned ceremonies by an Association called "Together for A8". The participants demanded the funding and completion of A8 Motorway connecting Targu Mures in central Romania to Iasi and further to Ungheni in the Republic of Moldova:
“We have chosen the Union Day because this motorway is dubbed the Union Motorway. Unfortunately, the latest messages are that this is impossible, that it is a difficult project, that we cannot be sure it will be completed by 2030. We want to see this motorway done during our lifetime. A8 Motorway is vital for Moldavia. It is the avenue to the development of the region and to Western European standards”.
Similar Union Day celebrations were held abroad as well. Romania’s Embassy to the Holy See and the Romanian Language Institute organised an online event entitled “The 1859 Union of Romanian Principalities”, a tribute to Romanian culture. (translated by: A.M. Popescu)