Culture comes from the Latin word "cultura" and it can have several different meanings. Clyde Kluckhohn and Alfred Kroeber made a compilation of no less than 164 culture definitions, put together in their book entitled Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. Nonetheless, there are three different meanings that are generally associated to the term "culture". The first one refers to having excellent tastes in humanities and fine arts; it is also called "high culture". Culture may also refer to a certain pattern of knowledge, behavior, and belief that can depend on one's capacity of symbolic thinking and learning. According to the third definition, culture is a set of mutually shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that are typical of an organization, group or institution and the meaning we will refer to here is the third one. In short, culture is defined as comprising all the spiritual and material values created by mankind, together with all the institutions necessary for communicating such values to the other people.
Romanian culture generally refers to a series of spiritual and material values that are established on the Romanian territory. We can thus speak of Romanian architecture, Romanian folklore, Romanian science, Romanian literature, Romanian religion, superstitions, faiths, traditions, customs; or Romanian sports.
As far as the traditional Romanian culture is concerned, it refers to a set of beliefs, traditions, customs, ideas and so on, which are kept throughout centuries in certain social or national groups and which can be orally spread, from generation to generation, foregrounding the specific features for each group. Traditions are meant to preserve legendary or real information regarding past events, situations or facts, which are orally transmitted.
The arts are, as it has been previously mentioned, an integrated part of the general definition of culture. As far as Romanian music is concerned, we could mention names such as Maria Tănase, who was the best and most well-known folk music singer, along with other celebrities such as Mihai Traistariu or rock bands such as "Iris", a band which worked together with the famous Uriah Heep. But there are also Romanian representatives of opera and classical music, such as Leontina Vaduva, which is a great soprano of our present times.
Romanian culture also refers to literary names such as Marin Preda, Nichita Stanescu, Mihai Eminescu, Eugen Ionescu, or so on. N. Stanescu was a great Romanian poet belonging to Modernism, whereas M. Preda was great novelist. Mircea Eliade was a representative of the fantastic literature, whereas Emil Cioran was a great philosopher.
Religion plays a significant role in the Romanian cultural life. The great majority of Romanians are Orthodox Christians. But there are also Roman Catholics, Reformed, Protestants, and so on. Religious tolerance is another major feature of the Romanian spirit. Especially in the countryside, but in the cities too, people go to church every Sunday and there are many active religious communities.
Another feature of the Romanian people is their being very superstitious. They have a strong faith in the unexplainable, invisible forces, be them good or evil. For instance, they say if you find a needle, it means there will be quarrels or poverty in the near future. Moreover, if the snow melts on the 2nd of February, and if it drops from the eaves, it means the bees will make a lot of honey that particular year. Apart from that, there are many superstitions related to crucial moments in one's life, such as childbirth, baptism, wedding, death. Thus, there is a Romanian tradition according to which the bridegroom has to pay a rather symbolic sum of money to one of the representatives of the bride, before going into the house of the bride.
When we speak of Romanian culture, we must also refer to sports. In these respect, there are many famous names that can certainly ring a bell, such as the soccer player called Gheorghe Hagi or the notorious gymnast Nadia Comaneci. Romanians take great pride in being so good at sports, and they generally adore soccer, and watch soccer games on every occasion, from local competitions to international championships.
In conclusion, Romania has an extremely rich culture. Unfortunately, it has been clouded nowadays by the invasion of the non-values which are advertised and propagated for commercial reasons. But there still is hope, as there still are people actually quite willing to help preserve the Romanian culture.