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February 2, 2023

Hora Unirii, one of the symbols of the Union of the Romanian Principalities

One of the symbols of the Union of the Romanian Principalities since 1859 is “Hora Unirii” (the Hora (Dance) of Union), a mobilizing anthem that “called” the Wallachians and Moldavians to unite under the same name.

We all know the author of these mobilizing verses that accompany the hora – Vasile Alecsandri. However, the story behind the song is lesser known.

On June 14, 1848, Vasile Alecsandri published Hora Ardealului, in “Foaie pentru minte, inima si literatura” (Newspaper for mind, heart and literature), using the pseudonym “A Romanian”. The text expresses the unity of action of the Romanian Revolution of 1848 aimed at achieving the full union of the Romanians. As the time passed, the poem lost its original title, being called the Romanian Hora or even A Song: “Let’s join hands / Those with a Romanian heart,/ Let’s turn the hora of brotherhood/ On the land of Romania!”.

“Hora Unirii” written by Vasile Alecsandri in 1856, for the founding of the Unirea society, in Iasi, was published in “Steaua Dunarii” (Danube’s Star), the magazine founded by Mihail Kogalniceanu. The poem ended up inspiring a rich patriotic and unionist poetry in all the Romanian provinces, especially in Transylvania.

The poem “Hora Unirii” would become known after the Moldavian composer Alexandru Flechtenmacher composed the music and became a symbol of the Union of January 24, 1859, an anthem of the brotherhood of all Romanians, whose prestige grew over time, along with the development of national consciousness and civic spirit.

“The rapid dissemination of the Hora Unirii throughout the country and in all social environments turned this poem into a true ‘Marseillaise of the Romanian Union’, as the poet himself would later consider it. Moreover, the idea of the union had been included, as a lyrical theme, in the well-known poem-manifesto ‘Catre romani’ (‘To Romanians’), later called ‘Desteptarea Romaniei’ ‘The Awakening of Romania’, elaborated in the midst of the events of 1848. Since then, the union was symbolized by a huge hora, covering the entire geographical space of Great Romania, constituting the project of a a visionary man. If in the world of the village the HORA united people, bringing them together in a circle, in a symbol of perfection and wholeness, well, Alecsandri’s ‘Hora Unirii’ gathers all Romanians in a circle. The hand-holding of those who unite in this dance conveys the idea of multiplied power, of joy that the territory of our country is being made whole. The space between the people joined in the hora conveys the image of a heart, the circle formed by people encompassing our multiplied hearts: the unseen ones, in the dancers’ chests, as well as those that fill the spaces between the citizens who join hands,” Ionelia Burghelea, teacher of the Romanian language at the “Oana Diana Renea” Secondary School in Focsani told AGERPRES.

According to her, Alecsandri’s poetry is “a manifesto”, which aims to mobilize Romanians for unification.

“The poem of the Union is a manifesto, a political speech in which the author, who proves himself to be a passionate civic spirit and an ardent patriot, includes all the aspects that can mobilize Romanians towards brotherhood: the call to action, the setting of high ideals, the prospect of victory and the jubilation of its fulfillment. Although it includes, in its eight stanzas, a political speech, Hora Unirii sensitizes the receiver through its simplicity and popular character, the poetic ideas, the vision and the feelings expressed being easily received by the readers/listeners of this intoned anthem,” says Ionelia Burghelea.

Although it never became Romania’s national anthem, “Hora Unirii” had several versions, performed over time by well-known artists, one of the famous interpretations belonging to Maria Tanase.

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