EVENTS

Greater Union Centennial: Official program of December 1 celebrations in Alba Iulia released, some 100,000 expected to attend

More than 100,000 people are expected to gather at Alba Iulia – the flagship city of the Greater Union where the union of Transylvania and Romania was proclaimed 100 years ago – for the December 1 celebrations, city mayor Mircea Hava announced this week, as he presented the official program of the events to take place on Romania National Day.

“The celebrations for the National Day of Romania start in the evening of November 29 with a folk show at the Trade Unions’ Culture House. Military wreath-laying ceremonies will be observed in the morning of November 30, at the memorials to the Union’s political architects Ion I.C. Bratianu and Iuliu Maniu, King Ferdinand I and Queen Maria, and precursor to the Union – Voivode Michael the Brave; the national flag will be hoisted in the Tricolor Square.

Wreaths and flowers will also be laid at the tomb of Samoila Marza, the only photographer of the events of December 1, 1918. Flag bearer Ion Arion, a Greater Union martyr who was shot dead on November 30 as he waved the tricolor out of the window of the train bound for Alba Iulia, will also be honored.

Other highlights of the day are the launch of art volumes, the unveiling of the busts of Thomas Woodrow Wilson and Emmanuel de Martonne, pop and classical music concerts.

On December 1, a religious service will be celebrated as of 7:00 hrs at the Coronation Cathedral of Alba Iulia.

The Union March starts at 8:00 hrs, with tens of thousands from Romania, the Republic of Moldova and the diaspora expected to attend the 6-km long procession with flags of 1918 Romania, tricolor insignia and singing patriotic songs.

The Resolution of the National Assembly of Alba Iulia will be read as of 10:30 hrs at the Union Hall of Alba Iulia – the symbol and temple of the Greater Romania, where the delegates of the Transylvanian Romanians voted for the unification of Transylvania with Romania. The welcome of the envoys of the Seat Cities in front of the Union Hall is due as of 10:45, with emotion-filled period-specific messages to be delivered, reviving moments from 100 years ago.

The consecration of the National Unity Monument – a 22m high stone construction consisting of four arched crosses joining at the top, as a symbol of the united four historical provinces – will take place as of 12:30 hrs. The monument and the surrounding park are still under construction, but mayor Mircea Hava assured the works will be completed by December 1.

The military ceremony from 15:00 hrs will see the participation of approximately 1,000 troops and 200 hardware – wheeled armored amphibious carriers, war machines, missile launchers, military trucks, special intervention vehicles; F-16 fighter jets, MIGs and helicopters will perform a flypast. President Klaus Iohannis is expected to attend the ceremony.

There is also mealtime for the masses with a record high of about 40,000 servings that will definitely include the traditional meat-stuffed cabbage rolls. Folk music concerts and patriotic songs are also on the bill, and the evening will end with a fireworks show and a recital of pan flute and organ.

The day of December 2 has a show for children scheduled and the reenactment of the moment the Romanian Army entered Alba Iulia. The day will end with a host of concerts.

Deputy mayor Voicu Paul said that for those who will come by car the mayoralty has roughly 8,000 free of charge parking places ready near the city entrances and that a bus shuttle service will pick up the people every quarter of an hour, with volunteers offering guidance.

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