December 1 was the Romanian national holiday, Unirii Day, celebrating the unification of Transylvania with the rest of Romania at the end of World War I in 1918.
The biggest celebration in Romania was at Piata Unirii (Unification Square), a twenty minute walk from our apartment. The highlight was the lighting of the “largest Christmas tree in Europe,” a giant lighted metal Christmas tree outside of one of the large downtown shopping centers. There are lots of videos of the fireworks and lighting of the tree on the internet; the best I found is here. The lighting of the tree occurs at 3:28 in the video, and the grand finale (around 6:00) is also worth watching. With the entire area surrounded by high-rise concrete apartment blocks, the sound of the fireworks was almost deafening.
The best part: the lighting of the tree.
The worst part: the densest crowd we’ve ever been in. Shirley and I felt like we were going to be crushed at times, and it was the first time I’ve ever been in a crowd where if there had been a panic, people would have been trampled. We are thankful that this didn’t happen.
Grace and Peace, and happy Ziua Unirii.