May 9 - Heroes' Day in Moldova

Posted on May 9, 2020

This kind of crowded parade is likely canceled this year.
Because of you-know-which-virus.

Okay, I have to admit that I changed the name of Moldova's holiday a little bit. The proper name (in Moldovan) is "Victory Day and Commemoration of the Fallen Heroes for the Independence of the Fatherland."

W - O - W!

This is another of those V-E Day commemorations (celebrating the anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis and the end of WWII in Europe - see yesterday's post!). 

Because Moldova was once part of the USSR, this nation celebrates Victory in Europe on May 9 rather than on May 8, as Western European nations do.

Here are a few things one could see in Moldova (if there were no global pandemic, and one could actually travel to Moldova!!):

A bronze statue of The Little Prince

The Little Prince is a character in a children's book written by a French writer, but for some reason a Moldovan public statue exists of this character, in a park, by a lake.

But the statue is tiny - the whole thing is only four inches (11 cm) tall (so the Prince himself is smaller); this photo gives you a point of reference:

Compared to the statue, the Milestii Mici is a perfectly huge wine cellar. (As a matter of fact, compared to all other wine cellars in the world, this one is huge - it's a network of 150 miles of underground caves and corridors and wine racks!)

Did you know that "gypsy" is a hateful word to some people? (And for sure "gyp" - meaning to cheat someone - IS hate speech. Don't say it. Ever.) The Roma people have faced centuries of discrimination, and many prefer the name "Roma" and tell us, "Don't call me gypsy!" Other Roma people think that the word gypsy is so common, they want to reclaim it. Since nobody is insulted by the name Roma, that is the name I will use - EXCEPT to say that the place in Moldova I want to mention is called by many "Gypsy Hill."

 Located in the town of Soroca, this hill is covered with extravagant mansions, including some that have features copied from notable buildings of the world.

The Roma people who have built mansions here are deliberately showing off to the rest of the world because they want to make the point that some of their people have become rich in spite of all the hate.

Interestingly enough, some of the mansions are more show than reality. Some don't have normal comforts on the inside - you know, useful things like plumbing and electricity - and some house quite a few families. Because of the somewhat nomadic lifestyle of many Roma families - and because it's hard to make a living without moving around to follow opportunities - some of the mansions sit empty most of the year.

Weird but cool, right?

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