In olden times, the population of Remetea used to wear traditional hand-made Székely clothes, but this habit has given way to factory-made clothing. Instead of wearing traditional clothes, people started wearing apparel from shops and supermarkets, and attire made from our beautiful hand-weaved fabrics ended-up in the back of the wardrobe, or in the ethnographic museum. Nowadays, the Székely of Remetea only dress-up in traditional hand-woven skirts and trousers for certain feasts and occasions. As part of the preservation of our folkloric history, 20 traditionally-tailored Székely costumes for women and 20 for men have been ordered, with funds from a European Union project. They will be worn by the traditional dance group named “Sirülő Néptánc”.
FOLKLORIC MUSIC AND DANCE
Modernity has penetrated almost every aspect of life, so, predictably, folkloric music and dance became something one could see and enjoy only during traditional festivities and staged events. But people from Remetea are striving to pass-on their traditions to new generations. As part of this, the Dance Camp of Gheorghenim was organised in Remetea for the first time in 2012. In the same vein, folkloric dance courses were started for children and young people in the Balás Gábor Cultural Hall. The folkloric dance group named “Sirülő Néptánc” was founded in 2009 and, since then, has been staging shows at all events in the region. Various bands have contributed to the preservation of musical traditions, notably the folkloric orchestra formed by Doctor László Asztalos in 1959, which he conducted for many years, and the Balás Gábor Cultural Hall Zither Orchestra formed in 1975, which currently has 5 members.
TRADITIONAL CRAFT PRODUCTS
Among the traditional products in Remetea, the ones that have earned particular renown are the woollen blankets – especially the “cerga”-type [rug-type] blanket known as ”estékes”, which are weaved from dyed wool. Also, woollen bedclothes were woven from white or natural-grey wool, and frequently during the weaving, they implanted two or three tassels in each second stripe. In the far-distant past, every young girl envisioning getting married would have three woollen bedspreads of this kind in the dowry list, but nowadays, this happens very rarely. In spite of this, there are still many women in Remetea who weave tasselled woollen bedspreads and “cerga”-type blankets. Their fame has travelled far in the world: foreigners look for these bedspreads, to buy them.
The home-weaved textile known as the “festékes” or “rakottas” is a woollen blanket made from two weaved panels that are the width of the loom, and that are stitched together in the middle. The oldest “festékes” blanket found in Remetea is the so-called “egyes koszorús” [“single wreath”], which has a pattern weaved into it.
Later, they started to make “festékes” weaved from four filaments and – later still – they weaved blankets with no relief pattern. After that, the habit of weaving “kicsikoszorús” spread throughout the village, the “kicsikoszorús” having a very complex relief pattern. In the days of yore, the Székely blankets known as “festékes” were used as bed covers, table cloths, wall tapestries and – on special feast days – covers for carriage benches. These days, they are used as carpets.
Apart from weaving, the other traditional crafts are hardly practised in Remetea anymore, although there are still craftsmen in the key professions living in the village: wood-carvers, blacksmiths, carpenters and coopers. People from Remetea are renowned craftsmen principally in the crafts linked to wood, but are also experienced in a number of the building trades. In the communist years, they worked on many building worksites in the country, but especially in Bucharest, and after the change of regime, craftsmen from Remetea first went to work in Hungary and Germany, later they worked in other European countries farther away.
THE SAWMILL OF DEZSŐ PORTIK-DOBOS
At the beginning of the 20th century, in the part of Remetea known as “Eszenyő”, there were 27 working watermills and other water-driven machines, using water energy for flour-milling, oilpressing, wool-carding, lumber-cutting and other purposes. At the end of the forties, the old sawmill of Dezső Portik-Dobos was replaced by a real masterpiece made by the watermill builders from Tulgheș. Apart from its timber-cutting functionality, it also milled flower, pressed oil, carded wool, and generated enough electricity for the family’s needs. Even today, experts in the field consider the design to be extraordinary, because designing just a wheel and sawmill mechanism alone requires specialised knowledge.
ROZÁLIA GOGA’S LAUNDRY
Rozália Goga’s laundry is nothing more than a giant washing machine. In this huge tub, carpets and home-weaved woollen blankets and bedclothes are washed for a period of time ranging from a few hours to a few days. The laundry was built after the fall of the communism, and very quickly became one of the mostphotographed sights in “Eszenyő”. Both the laundry mill and the woollen blankets that Rozàlia weaves carry Remetea’s renown far and wide.