20 November 2016

RUŞEŢU, Buzău County, the XXth Century

Center stage on Bărăgan Plain, at the criss-cross of three counties on the Romanian Plain (Romanian: Câmpia Română) region – Buzău, Brăila and Ialomița, on the right bank of Călmățui River, there’s a commune called Rușețu with a village named Sergent Ionel Ștefan in its circumscription. We found the first written document of Rușețu commune on a document dated 1510, although the settlement is older, as confirmed by the archeological vestiges. Village demographics record two categories of residents – the native locals and the people settled in the XIXth century with the aid of allotments. Alongside the latter, sheperds used to descend to the Danubian pond pastures during wintertime, arriven from the mountain areas of Buzău and southern Transylvania.

This demographic attribute has evidently influenced the evolution of vernacular culture in the locality. Principal occupations undertook by residents were agriculture and livestock breeding: cows, oxes, sheep; to some extent, vegetable cultures, carriage and wagon woodworking. The Rușețu commune is renowned for national stud farming, founded in 1919, which bred Romanian horses such as Semigreu (English: „Middleweight”) and Trăpaș (English: „Trotter”), widely appreciated.

In the year of 1926, Rușețu commune was host to the first monographic campaign organized by Professor Dimitrie Gusti. Throughout two weeks, participants have researched information about households, family budgets, the conditions for agrary properties and folk culture. This campaign recorded folk language idioms during meetings held in the only gaslit illuminated class room in the city – one example was issued during a summer evening meeting when people first used the term – luminous saloon (Romanian: „sala luminoasă”). The campaign also helped inaugurate a popular library and Professor Dimitrie Gusti was declared an onorary citizen of the commune.

The household in Rușețu village, built in the year 1876, was rebuilt on Museum premises in 1936. The grange encompasses a house and annex buildings used to shelter animals. The house was built with cob, and painted with whitewash. It features a low open porch that runs across one side and the frontside, built with wooden pillars with no decorations. The hipped roof is covered with sheet metal.

A distinguishable trait of the house from Rușețu is the color, red and blue, painted on the porch pillars, door and window frames, also along the lowerwaist band (blue) surrounding the walls of the house.

The house plan features a middle hallway, two living rooms, one pantry, one animal stable (Romanian: „poiată”) in the back of the house. An central area around the house was the open hearth with a wide chimney, underwhich the women used to cook by entering through a rectangular opening. This fireplace used to be fueled with straw and corn cob to heat the stove in the next room. The living rooms floor are pasted with clay and covered with striped rugs. The interior of the house is adorned with woolen fabrics (tapestries and bedspreads), most notably, borangic towels decorated with embroidered whole patterns (Romanian: „șabac” or „ajur”) and geometric patterns, vegetable or floral, zoomorphic, avimorphic.