Interview Ambassador Republic of Moldova Tatiana Parvu
We are thrilled to have had the chance to talk to Ms. Tatiana Parvu, Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova. About her wonderful country, their traditions and much more.
Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! What country are you from and how long have you been living in the Netherlands?
I’ve been living here a little over two years and I’m from the beautiful Republic of Moldova.
Have you lived in and discovered other cultures apart from those in the Netherlands and the Republic of Moldova?
Absolutely! I’ve been fortunate to have lived in quite a few places in Europe. In Hungary, the United Kingdom, France and now here. I studied in Romania and UK.
Have you visited the Embassy Festival previously? If so, what did you take away from it, what surprised you?
I have, yes! The spirit of the event is amazing. That’s the most important thing I noticed during the festival. One cannot and should not miss it. It’s really very exciting and interesting. There’s such a wide range of traditional dancing, dishes, clothing, music and more. It’s very unique and I hope that will continue for many years to come. We will keep participating, definitely. I noticed many people that visited the Moldova’s pavilion, didn’t know much about Moldova. It was therefore a great chance to show them things from our culture. We had several dishes available, as well as artefacts and wine. Next time we hope to also bring a Moldavian folk dancing group to the festival. We meet Moldovans from all over the Netherlands at the festival, so it’s also a great way to reconnect with our community.
What do you hope people notice or know about Moldova? Are there any traditions you could tell us more about?
Moldova has many traditions, customs and cultural traits! Many of the modern traditions are a product of mixture of old Geto-Dacian and other civilizations culture like the Greeks, Romans, Slavic. They are best shown in folk music and dances, in our food, handicrafts, in the old tradition of pottery, embroidery, in customs related to weddings, engagements, baptizing.
There are also a lot of festivities in Moldova. One close to my heart is Mărţişor, celebrated in March, meaning the celebration of the arrival of spring. Colleagues, neighbours, families, friends all give each other Mărţişor (snowdrop pendant with red and white string) on the first of March and wear them at the left side of the chest close to the heart until the first tree is blossoming. At the end of the month, they hang it on the tree and make a wish. It is believed that people who follow that tradition will have a good year, full of love and success. If I have had wishes that have come true? Definitely!
We also have very distinctive traditional clothing. There’s a special day – International Day of national blouse called „Ie”, celebrated each year in June. Every pattern you’ll see on the blouses and costumes symbolize something unique. Those symbols are inspired by nature, customs, arts, foods and other particularities. On my own national blouses, which I have quite a few of, there are life tree symbols, rivers of life patterns and others. They’re all embroidered by hand and very precious to me.
‘We have a saying in Moldova, which loosely translated means ‘every single dish is delicious when it is made from the heart’.’
Could you tell us some surprising facts about Moldova?
The first thing that comes to mind is the name of our capital, Chișinău. Just about every foreigner pronounces it wrong, “Cheezy-now” instead of “Kishi-now”, which is very understandable. Click here for a video showing you how to pronounce it. Another example is more related to curiosity. That is Gypsy Hill in Soroca town in Northern Moldova, which is quite interesting. Roma people, an ethnic group in our country, have built very elaborate mansions and flamboyant houses there, copies of buildings like for example, U.S. Capitol Building, Bolshoi theatre and St. Peter’s Basilica!
One of the best ways to get to know a different culture is through its food. Could you tell us about a signature dish from your country, that you would recommend people try, to get a sense of your country?
We have a saying in Moldova, which loosely translated means ‘every single dish is delicious when it is made from the heart’. We use everything. Lots of meats and vegetables. Ghiveci (gyvech) is a stew vegetable dish, which is very popular. So is Zeama soup, made of homegrown poultry. Borș (borch) is a type of sour soup and served differently in every region, so it’s nice to taste the variations. Mamaliga, our popular dish similar to polenta, served with meat stew and brânza. Then “Colac’”, for which we’ve also sent in a cooking video. It’s a traditional braided bread, in a form of a ring, always made for special occasions or holidays and on each of them “Colac” has its own significance. It is a custom symbolizing immortality, prosperity, good luck. It’s become a symbol of our culture.
If people would like to hear music, typical Moldavian, what would you recommend they listen to?
Doina is a very popular music genre in Moldova. During Christmas time Colinda is omnipresent, it is a must. They are traditional Moldavian Christmas carols. Colinda can be both used as a noun and a verb representing the action of singing a Colinda. The process of Colinda entails a group of people going from door to door dressed in national clothes, wearing masks and animal fur, while singing Colinda. They will be playing music and dance in exchange for symbolic gifts in the form of food, drinks, or some crafted items. It is mostly done in the countryside. Of course, there’s also other music. Lots of jazz, rock, rap, pop. You might also know the O-Zone group, who gained popularity in many countries with their song ‘Dragostea Din Tei’. Also, not to miss the music of our famous composer Eugen Doga. According to a special UNESCO decision, Eugen Doga’s waltz is recognized as one of the four musical masterpieces of the twentieth century.
What were things that surprised you when you moved to the Netherlands, regarding Dutch culture?
The cycling culture, of course. Although, cycling is also quite popular in Moldova too, especially in the countryside. I love cycling, as does everyone in my family. It gives you another perspective of the place where you are. I think Dutch people are amazing and their level of English is exceptional. Really exceptional. They also seem very open to learn other languages. King’s Day is great, too. Everyone is out on the streets, in orange. The colours, the talents, the music and dancing; it’s very impressive and I’m positively fascinated by it.
‘The people that visit the Embassy Festival are all so curious and their eagerness to integrate with other cultures is very impressive.’
Will Moldova be participating in the Embassy Festival this year?
Yes! But first I’d like to say that I can’t stress enough about how impressed I am by the Embassy Festival. The people that visit the festival are all so curious and their eagerness to integrate with other cultures is very impressive. This year the festival will be online, but it will have its own beauty. We have sent a cooking demonstration video for ‘Colac’, the traditional bread used at every single holiday in Moldova, which we talked about previously. There is also a recipe in the Recipe Booklet called ‘Guguţă’s Hat’. It is called this way due to a folk story written by Spiridon Vangheli. The history of this recipe and how to make it is very interesting and I encourage everyone to find it in the Recipe Booklet. The dessert with this name is melange of refined sweet and sour taste and it’s a favourite dish for many people in Moldova, including my family. It is not hard to make it, but it does require a lot of patience and – we’d like to say – passion.
This recipe is courtesy of ‘’Noroc Olanda’’, a Moldavian association in the Netherlands. They have a great name, which portrays I think their active role and contribution. ‘Noroc’ has several meanings: it is a greeting and a word to say ‘goodbye’, but it also means ‘good luck’ and ‘cheers’, so it’s versatile word, but always a positive one. The lady who cooked it in the cooking video, Mrs Viorica Oselschi, has been baking this cake since she was 10!
We have also added Moldavian honey and wine to the Embassy Festival Box. We have a very rich wine culture and lots of wine cellars. Moldova is in the Guinness World Records book with it, as we host the largest wine cellars. They are so huge; it is hard to comprehend the enormity of it! One of them is about 120km long, all underground. There is a Chardonnay street and Pinot street, for example. There’s a whole city of underground wine streets, all artificially made. You’ll have to drive through the cellars, though. Get lost and nobody will find you, it’s that big!
What other dish, from another country, would you like to try for yourself?
My answer is short and I will use our well-known expression in Moldova – every single dish is delicious when it is made with the heart, so I am open to try it.