The Land and People of Romania, by Julian Hale, Lippincott, 1972.
I borrowed this book from the library because (1) they didn't have the Hungary of the series; and (2) I understand from what little my grandparents told me that when they went back to visit relatives at one point, the home village had been lost to Romania in a border move.
I wanted to understand more about that, and more about the stress between the two peoples that I was introduced to in Realm of St. Stephen.
This is an older children's book - like 5th grade, though the details of the animosities that lead up to WWI (and how intrinsically that area was involved in the beginning - I always wondered why the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand could launch the mess that it did) can stymie even this very persistent 31-yr-old.
There are some nice snippets in here: when discussing "Hungarians, Germans, Jews and Others", this tale is told explaining the origin of the German population in Hungary and Romania:
As for the Germans - descendants of the Saxons who came into Transylvania as frontier guards soon after the Szeklers, and of the Swabians who came much later - they too have their own history and traditions. One version of their first arrival in the country is that they are the people who follwed the Pied Piper of Hamelin...Perhaps that's why the Germans in Romania always had a reputation for miserliness...Early visitors to Transylvania used to remark on the way the Saxons kept themselves to themselves: how they seldome married anyone who was not also a Saxon; and how they worked enormously hard, but hated to spend their money.
It's clear that there's still a sense of estrangement between the two groups, despite hundreds of years of living amongst each other. Towns/areas listed with significant Saxon population are: Sibiu, Brasov, Sighisoara, Bistrita.
The Saxon villages in Romania, which cluster round Brasov and Sibiu and elsewhere, have a special look about them. They are always spotlessly clean (Kohler, Wisconsin, comes to mind) and the houses form a continuous row along the street, joined by a big porchlike gate made of brick or stone. The houses usually have three windows which face the road - unlike Romanian cottages which, by tradition, are built sideways on.
On rugs and weaving:
In Romanian, the rugs are called scoarte. This word has the same root as the French ecorce, meaning bark (Latin scortea). The term in Romanian derives from the time when the interiors of the wooden peasant cottages were lined with bark to keep out the drafts. That is why the rugs are still hung on the walls rather than placed on the floor.
The rugs, made from hemp and wool, are woven now as in the past on cottage looms which are ususally quite narrow, so that large rugs have to be sewn together in strips. The supreme art lies in the choice of colors and the precision of the dyeing processes, the most popular colors being traditionally black, red, green, brown, and yellow; blue was difficult to obtain as it had to come from the Orient and was expensive. (Apparently woad wasn't cultivated - G.)
It goes on to barely touch types of patterns, pottery ("black pottery in norther Moldavia and northeastern Transylvania to the brown, yellow and white plates and pots of Oltenia - notably at the monastery of Horezu - to the green and blue flower patterns on the jugs from Wallachia) and ironwork.
Dancing and music - The cobza (like a harp), tambal (dulcimer), bucium (like an alpenhorn) and many forms of pipe and flute all play second to a fiddle. A girl singing a plaintive song is common. The hora is Romanian.