A new non-profit organisation, RoKultur Asbl, has launched in Luxembourg, with the aim of promoting Romanian culture in the Grand Duchy.
The launch took place on Saturday 16 September 2023 with an event about Orthodox iconography and a presentation of antique religious images, followed by a buffet with traditional Romanian food and drinks.
Chronicle.lu recently conducted an interview with one of the association’s founders, Raluca Caranfil, to learn more about this new cultural initiative.
Chronicle.lu: How long have you been living in Luxembourg?
Raluca Caranfil: We are a group of eight friends who started this association: Ștefania Atanasiu, Raluca Cara, Raluca Caranfil, Camelia Constantinescu, Laura Fevrier, Brindușa Mihăilescu, Ștefana Puiu and Mădălina Stoian. Some of us came to Luxembourg over fifteen years ago and some as recently as 2018.
Chronicle.lu: Why (and when) did you decide to create Rokultur asbl?
Raluca Caranfil: In 2018 we organised an exhibition with Romanian blouses at the European Court of Justice, and we realised that we might need some form of an association if we would like to continue organising events. The president of our association, Ștefania Atanasiu assembled a group of ladies passionate about Romanian embroidery, Romanian crafts and Romanian blouses and she inspired us to embroider our own blouses. Over time we became friends and organised trips to Brussels to watch theatre plays, to see exhibitions, and we realised we want to have those kinds of events in Luxembourg, too. That is how the association started.
Chronicle.lu: What is the association's main purpose?
Raluca Caranfil: The main purpose of the association is to promote Romanian culture, traditions and customs in Luxembourg among Romanian speakers living here, but not limited to that group.
Chronicle.lu: How was the process of setting up an Asbl ?
Raluca Caranfil: It took us a couple of months, but I would say the process was straightforward.
Chronicle.lu: What are some upcoming events and ideas in the works?
Raluca Caranfil: On 28 October we are partners with the Romanian Embassy here in Luxembourg in organising the meeting of the Romanian actress Oana Pellea with the people from the community. She will come to Luxembourg to perform at the National Theatre in "The Chaires" by Eugen Ionesco and has kindly accepted to meet with the Romanians living here.
The next event is at the beginning of December, a historian from Romania, Anita Sterea will come to Luxembourg to tell us about how Romanians [traditionally] celebrate[d] St Nicholas, Christmas and New Year but not only. How Romanians used to celebrate their holidays, the customs related to those holidays, the parties, what they would like to wear, what they would cook and eat and many more details.
We are already working on the events for next year, there will be conferences, workshops, exhibitions and theatre plays, but do keep an eye on our social media handles (rokultur asbl on Facebook and Instagram) and our website (rokultur.lu) because we will announce our events in due time.
Chronicle.lu: You recently organised an embroidery workshop in the Schengen area - are you planning to do any more crafting events for the wider community?
Raluca Caranfil: The Saxon embroidery workshops were a great success. They were organised during the Heritage Days event and were supported by the Ministry of Culture. We held the embroidery workshops at Musee a Possen in Bech-Kleinmacher, Schengen because the Moselle Valley was the place from where in the 12th century the Saxons came to Transylvania.
We are of course prepared to do that again. We had great feedback from the participants, I am sure we will organise those kinds of activities again.
Chronicle.lu: What are some of the perks of joining your association?
Raluca Caranfil: People who join our association know in advance about our events and have a chance to register earlier than the people who are not members and of course have discounts on the events where a ticket is required.
Chronicle.lu: Who is your main audience?
Our main audience is the people living in Luxembourg and the Great Region, but because all the founding members are Romanians, of course our audience is more focused on the Romanian-speaking community. On the other hand, our events are as much as possible multilingual, among ourselves the languages spoken vary, so our events are not limited to the Romanian-speaking community. For example, at the Saxon embroidery workshops we had participants from USA, France, Luxembourg, Poland and Czechia and we spoke English, French, German and Romanian.