Halloween in Transylvania: How Draculas and Pumpkins are Internalized by Local Romanians

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Yes, we’ve all heard it: if you want to visit Transylvania, you definitely should be making  a stop at Bran Castle, to see where Vlad the Impaler lived, right?

Well, if you do make it, you will realize that Vlad actually maybe never even stayed at Bran a single night of his life. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a fascinating narrative, we all know and can agree.

Yet, folklore suggests the castle at Bran, although a conquest of our dear Count Dracula, may never have been inhabited by the man, and Peonari Castle, a ways away in a trail far from mainstream tourist tracks, is the real destination if you’re into authenticity.

So what is going on in Transylvania? I reckon it’s a very conscious shift to provide narrative tales that support the fable, the national myth, that nation branders are wont to do, to generate economic increases in their expenditure.

Other than getting a bad rap for the Romanchi population which is headquartered at Sibiu, and receives a bad name due to the Roma King’s rather shiny tin castle and rather extravagant cars, which, with his declared income rarely makes other Transylvanians happy, I came to learn that Romanians view the Roma as a menace, who they would love to integrate into their communities but receive much resistance from the Roma factions themselves.

English: Bran Castle (view from south) near Br...

Bran Castle (view from south) near Braşov in Transylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back to castles though: Unfortunately, during my  trip, I wasn’t able to make it to Peonari Castle due to time restraints, although a beautiful stopover at Bran provided plenty of unforgettable tales that arose out of the craggy steps and the uneven stones around the castle grounds, a spooky reality in and of its own right.

What you may also realize, if you spend more than one day in Transylvania, is that Transylvania is underrated for its natural beauty, with an almost total absence of any traffic (read: no noise pollution), and a humorous take of carved pumpkins, which my Transylvanian mates reassured me, were all “new” traditions, initiated in order to make the Dracula seeking tourists happy.

My signature style of photography is in trying to capture barren landscapes, even if there are tons of people around. Hope you enjoyed the photographs. They are mostly taken in Bran, Sibiu, Cluj, Brasov, and Sighisoara.


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