“Mihai Viteazul” (Michael the Brave) – rural celebration

Architectural detail of the monument in honor of the victory of Guruslău – Mihai Viteazu

History is a reason for celebration for many Romanians. One of the most important reasons to celebrate is the victory of Michael the Brave at Guruslau, on 3rd August, 410 years ago.

In 1601, the army led by Michael the Brave defeated the army of Sigismund Bathory severely.

For a while, as a well established tradition, the locals have been celebrating through a rural festival the victory of “the Brave” ruler on the Guruslau hill, at the famous monument erected in the honour of this event in Salaj County.

Because it is still a military event, this victory mentioned in the history books cannot be celebrated without a grand ceremonial typical to the Romanian army, also accompanied by a religious service. In general, at this rural celebration attend almost all local and decentralized authorities of the county, who go to Guruslau to show that they have not forgotten our ancestors’ deeds and they do honour their memory.

If you went to this festival in 2011, in early August, you could have certainly appreciated the show organized by the people of Hereclean Town Hall on the occasion of the 410 years from the victory.

Besides the wonderful show of folklore, there was also a demonstration of riding and another one of martial arts. We do not really understand the connection of this last manifestation with the battles between Michael the Brave and Sigismund Bathory, considering that this kind of fight was not even known at that time in Europe.

And there is no real celebration without a camp fire and / or fireworks ending the festivities.

For those who do not care too much about history, Sigismund Bathory was the Prince of Transylvania in XVI century. He is attributed the first union of Transylvania with Moldavia and the Romanian Country.

Elected as a minor prince, he exercised this right from 1581 until 1588. After a series of events by which he gained more power, on October 20, 1595 he fought alongside with Michael the Brave, in the Battle of Giurgiu, the place where they destroyed the Ottoman army.

Six years later, his old ally, Michael the Brave, had to fight against him, at Guruslau and defeat him. Once defeated, Bathory was forced to flee to Moldavia, while his army commander went to Turkey.

The local people do not let a year pass by without celebrating the historical event.