A Communist Christmas Carol
As 2012 draws near a close, the global economic downturn continues to cast a long shadow, and in recent weeks I have seen a number of media reports discussing ways in which the current austerity measures are impacting on this year’s festive celebrations. During the 1980s, communist Romania were undergoing their own enforced ‘age of austerity’, as leader Nicolae Ceausescu sought to pay off Romania’s foreign debts. While shortages were commonplace across the Soviet bloc throughout the 1980s, in Romania the situation was particularly bad, with strict rationing of even the most basic foodstuffs, electricty and gasoline enforced from 1981. By April 1989, Ceausescu announced that Romanian foreign debt had been repaid, but this had come at the cost of enormous deprivation for the Romanian people. Rising popular discontent meant that by Christmas 1989 the Romanian Revolution was in full swing: Nicolae Ceausescu was toppled from power and on Christmas day 1989, Nicolae and his wife Elena were both executed after a military tribunal found them guilty of crimes against the state.
The following song, a christmas carol parody, was popular amongst Romanian children during these hard times:
A Romanian Christmas Carol (1980):
Father Christmas we do beg
Bring us butter, bring us egg.
If you ever come on foot
Bring some cabbage, or beetroot
If your bag is large enough
Add some maize and garlic cloves.
Christmas Father don’t miss either
The potatoes and the flour.
Should you come, though, in a sleigh
Don’t forget for the New Year
Toilet paper that’s so sparse,
To wipe at least our arse!
(From: Centre For Romania Studies)
Merry Christmas & Seasons Greetings from The View East!
1 Comment »