Ioan TOȘA, Tudor SĂLĂGEAN
Cluj-Napoca, Muzeul Etnografic al Transilvaniei
The authors present the activity carried out at the Transylvanian Museum of Ethnography between 1922-1951 to set up an Archive that keep information on material and immaterial folk culture, obtained using the questionnaires as a research method. The following Questionnaires are presented: The list of objects to be collected for the Ethnograpfic Museum (1923), To preserve our artistic monuments (1925), Questionnaire no. 1: Christmas customs (1926), Questionnaire no. 2: Christmas and New Year customs, Young fellowships (1927), The New Year’s Goat Ritual (1927), The House (1931).
The answers to these questions were the base for setting up The Museum’s Folklore and Ethnography Archive, that also includes Collections of folkloric materials, Collections of Year’s Events Customs and Seminar Papers made by students on the following topics: Customs throughout the year; Habits in relation to human life; Settlements and House; Village Monographs; Grazing; Folk costumes; Folk medicine; Pottery; Furriery.
Among the materials preserved in the Museum’s Archives, the authors present 14 seminar papers on the customs related to human life events (birth, wedding, funeral). In connection with human birth, some popular beliefs and practices are described: from the prenatal period (bans for pregnant women), and from the post-natal period, focusing on the role of the midwife and of the godmother in the first days of the newborn’s life. On the wedding theme, the authors expose the main phases preceeding the wedding: looking for the predestinated spouse, asking in marriage, the engagement, wedding invitations, the preparation of the flag, of the wreath, of the tree and the fir-tree, the wedding ceremony, the wedding party. Regarding the funeral, the authors present beliefs about the signs portending the death (the owlet song, howling dogs, objects falling off the walls), the dying persons’s spiritual preparation (Confession, Communion), physical preparation of the dead person (washing, grooming, dressing), the wake, the funeral service, the burial, alms (highlighting the importance of water as charity for the dead).
The authors also present the funeral with fir-tree, for the unmarried young people, known as the dead’s wedding.
Keywords: birth, wedding, funeral, midwife, fate, baptism, asking in marriage, wedding flag, bride’s wreath, the bride and groom’s tree, alms.