CRSA a Year of Celebrations

CANADIAN ROMANIAN SOCIETY OF ALBERTA CRSA A YEAR OF CELEBRATIONS Marea Unire For Romanians all over the world, December 1st is the Great Union Day. On this day in 1918, during the reign of king Ferdinand I, Romania made of Moldova and Wallachia at the time – was united with Transylvania, Crisana, Banat and the Maramures area. (Insider, 2013) The unification happened in Alba Iulia, where almost 1,228 elected delegates arrived, however the number of participants exceeded 100,000 people. On the morning of December 1 the delegates gathered in the Unirii (Union) Hall. The Resolution of Union, consisting of nine points, was read by Vasile Goldis and was then unanimously voted by the delegates. A number of democratic principles and fundamental liberties were included in the final text of the resolution adopted by the National Assembly of Alba Iulia. National freedom, freedom of religion, a democratic regime based on universal suffrage, freedom of the press, freedom of association and assembly, agrarian reform and modern legislation for workers – these were the foundations on which the new unified state of Romanians was to be built on. The huge excitement of the day was evoked with great talent by poet Lucian Blaga (1895-1961), a direct participant in the event: ‘I could not find room in the assembly hall in Alba Iulia… I had, however, the advantage of being able to roam from place to place, all day, in the field where people gathered. It was an unbelievable throng. Here and there, were seats where orators spoke to the crowds. At that time there were no microphones, so that the orators, with voices too soft for so many people, in order to multiply the echo passed from one tribune to another. That day I came to know what national enthusiasm means, sincere, spontaneous, irresistible, organic, massive. “ (Centenary, 2018) The Great Union of 1918 was and remains the most sublime event in Romanian history. Its greatness resides in the fact that the fulfillment of the national unity is not the work of any politician, government or party; it is the historic deed of the whole Romanian nation, accomplished out of a powerful longing coming from the vivid awareness of the unity of the people and channeled by the political leaders for it to be led towards its aim with a remarkable political intelligence. It was not a military victory that laid the foundation of Great Romania, but the will of the Romanian nation to create for itself the territorial and institutional framework that is the national state. A historic necessity -the nation has to live within a national state -proved to be more powerful than any government or party, guilty of selfishness or incompetence and, putting the nation into motion, gave it that huge drive to overcome all the adversities and make its dream come true: the national state. (Constantiniu, 1997) -BY RADU NASTASE To Commemorate the 120 year Anniversary and History of our Romanian Pioneers BY GEORGE MOSS In 1896 the federals were elected on a promise to bring prosperity to Canada by opening the vast agricultural land of the West. Clifford Sifton, Minister of Interior, was then given the responsibility to travel to Europe and the Austro-Hungarian Empire to encourage preferably hardy peasant farm families to immigrate to Canada. With the hope of a male owning 160 acres of land with a registration fee of only $10.00, was a motivating factor for peasant farmers from the Boian-Bucovina areas to seek their dream and fortune in the new world. For this dream they would have to travel to the port of Hamburg, Germany. Thereafter, board a Cargo ship and unknowingly endure living at the bottom of the ship as ballast, under deplorable conditions for over a month, until they would arrive in Halifax, Canada. The first pioneers to endure this trip to Boian, Alberta in April 1898 were Ichim Yurko, Elie Ravliuk and the Iftodi Families. On arriving in Halifax and travelling by train to Strathcona, Edmonton, then by horse and foot into the wilderness with a guide. After days they arrived at their destination Whitford, Alberta, east of the village of present day Andrew. There they built a short term Bordei ( a dug out with a roof made of logs and sods). Later they moved eastward to the place they later called Boian -Marea, after their homeland. "THE BORDEI" being built at Boian Museum Not fully understanding the hardships they would encounter, they were prepared to farm, as they brought a variety of clothes, portable farm tools and seeds in trucks. Thereafter, in March of 1899, a larger group arrived made up of the husband and wife of Soprovich, Moscaliuk, Falka, Toma, Feica and others. They also arrived at the Strathcona station, thereafter making their way by horse and walking through the wilderness with a guide to the Whiteford-Boian area. Many of these families lived in a Bordei for the first couple of years, also bringing along clothing, tools and seeds to survive and establish themselves in the rugged wilderness. After government surveyors and agents allotted the 160 acres to the respective families, then for them to receive title after 3 years, they would have had to live and show improvements on that land. Some women were responsible for building the log homes, during the summer, while the men left for months, finding any work for pay, so they could come back with supplies for winter. To encourage others to come, letters were sent back home to relatives, assuring them that it’s true, that they could receive such large tracts of land. Thereafter despite tremendous hardships, countless families and single men migrated to the new world. Since most of the families were strong believers in their Orthodox faith, their desire then was to build a church, comparable to the one in their homeland. To achieve this, the first meeting was held in March 1901, in the house of Dimitru Moscaliuk, whereby Ion T. Toma, Dimitru Moscaliuk, and Niculai Iftodi were chosen to find land for a cemetery and church. After years of volunteer work by a minority and some meager pay, in locating a piece of land on a hill and 3 years of building, it was finally completed. Thereafter it was then consecrated as St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Parish in August 1905. Today it is known as the Church on the Hill, designated as a historical site to be cherished by all. Since nearly all could not speak English or were illiterate, the majority of the children did not receive any type of education until 1920. The government then built a school known as Boian Marea, whereby all children from the surrounding area attended mostly on foot, buggy or sleigh. Since the Church was the focal point of the community all other public and community facilities were established around it. Also, at the crossroads of the Church, a post office was established, run from the Russ family house. On the opposite side of the playground, a ball diamond was created, whereby that same land is now occupied and known as the Boian Museum. As the wilderness was broken into cultivated agricultural land there was the increase in families required to assist in farm help. In 1914 World War 1 broke out, thus encouraging young men to enlist and if underage, some would travel to enlist in the US Army, to have a new challenge in life away from the farm. In 1918 came the dreaded Spanish Flu epidemic , which resulted in death to many family members. The only remedy prevention at the time used by families was garlic, alcohol or other home remedies. One must also appreciate the role the First Nations people played in the sharing of their herbal remedies and in the trading of goods, which also aided their survival. In 1929 the Great Depression occurred resulting in plummeting prices of agricultural products, which affected farmers dramatically. Fortunately, access to home grown food maintained their survival during this period. In 1941, World War II came about disrupting family life, whereby many men and women were either called to the battle fields or to industrial sites to produce war related materials. Many who served, did not survive, thus the sadness was born by many families, for the freedom we have today. After the war, a type of relief and exuberance came about whereby the community showed signs of resurgence. Farmers started to prosper by engaging in the usage of larger types of equipment. As years swept by, families prospered, whereby they could afford to send their children off to the universities, technical institutes and other institutions of higher learning. This resulted in students graduating in numerous faculties, some of the highest degrees of recognition. Currently, many are 4th generation descendants, making outstanding achievements in their careers and as contributors, to the well-being of society wherever they may be. Many who left to serve work in other parts of the country because of the War and other reasons did not return, having already established a home. Others who have migrated to Edmonton and were now living there and were still strong in the Orthodox faith, decided to establish a sister parish to the Boian parish in 1948. Only by the pioneer efforts of these descendants, that the St. Constantine and Elena Church was built and subsequently consecrated in 1972. in Romania in 1989, this resulted in a major migration to Canada and Alberta. Thus, with the fewer and the aging of most of the founding descendants, the Parish is now vibrant with newcomers. The parish is currently being served, since 1987 by Father George Bazgan, and is now celebrating its 70th anniversary. Prior to 1987, Father Mircea Panciuk served as parish priest in Edmonton since 1968, and in Boian from 1968 to the present day. He is the longest serving priest at St. Mary’s Boian, who in the past also served other Romanian parishes. Thereafter, it was consecrated as St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Parish in August 1905. Today it is known as the Church on the Hill, designated as a historical site to be cherished by all. In 1978, the 1st and 2nd generation descendants formed the Canadian Romanian Society of Alberta to preserve the culture and heritage of the first pioneers who migrated here. In addition, the Romanian Senior Citizens Complex was built for their retirement. The Boian Museum was also created to document and secure their history. It is now 120 years since the first pioneers migrated to the place where they compared it to their homeland. They would be proud that their descendants have preserved their spiritual and cultural identity in their honour at the Boian Museum. May their memory be eternal. th Anniversary of the Canadian Romanian Society of Alberta The society is celebrating its 40th year since its inception on April 4, 1978 as a not-for­profit organization. The purpose of the organization is to preserve and promote Romanian culture, heritage and history, as it relates to the pioneering history of the settlers of Romanian origin, who settled in Canada. William Yurko and Steve Axani were instrumental in forming the organization. Since inception, approximately 24 people have served as presidents with some for more than a year, and some for numerous years. Of those former presidents at least half are now deceased. In the past, the society has had many achievements. The first was the decision by the founding executives in 1980 to build a senior citizens residence in Edmonton, whereby they delegated George Moss to oversee this project. After three years and with the financial assistance of the Heritage Foundation Fund, the Romanian House (Casa Romana) was built which is still serving seniors today. In 1976, William (Bill) Yurko, founder and past president of the organization, who was the Minister of Public Works, while Horst Schmid was Minister of Culture. Together they organized the very first “Heritage Day” festival in Edmonton. Horst Schmid brought forward and proposed legislation that allows each and every one of us to celebrate our culture, Heritage Day, on the first Monday in August. Each year since the inception, Romanians participated and shared a stage with multiple cultures. To this day, Heritage Days is an integral part of the Society, whereby key people on the Board are responsible to bring up to 100 volunteers for assistance in providing a cultural showcase to the public at large. In the late 80’s the decision was made to establish the Pioneer Museum at Boian on land leased from the Boian Church. After countless years of efforts by many, the museum has been established and continues to improve, showcasing the heritage and artifacts of our early pioneers. Romanian Society of Alberta This was also celebrated in the 100 year anniversary held in 1998 at the museum. To further reflect and preserve this cultural heritage to the younger and future generations of Romanian heritage the yearly Boian picnic was established, which is also a major attraction to the public at large. This past year, the Board took on a new project, a kids dancing group­“Lumina”. This group is a collaboration between “Balada” – the professional Romanian Dancing Group from Edmonton and the Canadian Romanian Society of Alberta. Balada has provided teachers for the kids, while the Society has purchased the costumes and leased the space required. The kids have performed for the first time at Heritage Days Festival in 2017 and will continue to perform at Romanian Activities throughout the years. As time passes by with the taking on of new projects , the Board is fortunate to get regenerated not only by the descendants of our early pioneers, but by the Romanian migrants over the past 30 years who came with the same pioneer spirit as our early settlers. Childhood stories of a Boian Resident -Baking Bread in the Cuptor ­ BY MARY LOUISE BARANIC (MALIN) We used to bake bread in Grandma's cuptor. Mom would knead the bread in a big blue dotted dish (tavala). Dad would drive us with the dough to Grandma's (she was gone then). We would put the dough into pans and while the bread was rising Uncle Mike fired up the cuptor. He was very good at it! Gerogina and I would clean the house -sweep and wash floors. One day Uncle Alex had to go into town for some repairs. He told us that he had just enough cucumbers in his garden for one jar of pickles. He nicely told us not to pick any of them. As soon as he left, we dashed on the garden and picked enough for a small meal with onions, oil, and vinegar. We covered our tracks with a branch from a Saskatoon bush, washed, and put the dish away. We thought we were safe. In a few hours Uncle Alex came home and asked us if we had gone into the garden. Of course we said, "No, did you see any tracks?". The soil was sandy and you couldn't see footprints anyway. "No", he said," but whose nail clippers did I find in the garden?" When I bent down, the clippers must have fallen out of the pocket in my blouse! He laughed and wasn't angry. He did love us. For cleaning the house we each got a coffee Crisp bar and a carton of Pepsi! Soon the bread was baked -sixteen loaves at a time. We had to leave three loaves for Uncle Mike and Uncle Alex -As a gift for the use of the cuptor. Prima Excursie in Romania la Bunici BY STEPHANIE & SOFIA TIBICHI In vara anului 2017 am fost la bunici in Romania pentru prima data. Am fost foarte impresionata de casa bunicilor si de toate animalele de casa: -doi caini -doua pisici si in special gainile si puisorii lui Bubu. Bubu avea un loc special cu gard unde tinea gainile si cocosul, iar puisorii erau separati intr-un loc special. Eu am avut grija sa le dau de mancare si apa, dar intr-o zi m-am gandit sa ii las afara sa se joace, caci mereu incercau sa iasa prin gard. Cum le-am dat drumul, cum au alergat peste tot voiosi in toata curtea si eu odata cu ei. Doar ca Bubu a venit si a inceput sa ii prinda si sa ii puna la loc in tarc. A alergat si el mult cu noi, dar la sfarsit mi-a spus sa nu ii mai las sa alerge. Dragalasii de ei au stat inchisi mult timp acolo pana au crescut mai mari. Cand am venit inapoi in Canada am vrut sa iau unul cu mine, dar nu am putut. Abia astept sa ma intorc la Bubu si la puisorii lui. 2018 Board Members George Moss -President Radu Nastase -Vice-President Mircea Panciuk -Secretary Andra Bob -Treasurer Dan Tapoveti -Heritage Director Les Lutic -Museum Director Maria Bob -Cultural Director Andrei Miziumschi -Boian Picnic Director Adrian Diaconasi -Membership & Website Director

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