Each year, on July 29, Romania celebrates the Day of the National Anthem. Romania’s national anthem day – “Awaken Thee, Romanian!”, a symbol of the unity of the Romanian Revolution since 1848 – is celebrated every year on July 29, the date on which, in 1848, it was sung for the first time officially, in Zăvoi Park in Râmnicu Vâlcea.
Romanians worldwide observe this celebration each year, and ceremonies are organized in Bucharest and the country.
The anthem lyrics were composed by Andrei Muresanu (1816-1863) during the Romanian Revolution of 1848. It was the year of the revolutions against the monarchies across Europe. From France to the Austrian Empire, the people decided to take their faith into their own hands and establish republics where there were kingdoms.
‘Awaken Thee, Romanian‘ became the National Anthem in 1990, on January 24th, when it replaced the communist anthem. The reason for that was simple: ‘Awaken Thee, Romanian‘ was also sung during the Revolution in 1989, when Nicolae Ceausescu, the last leader of the Romanian Communist Party, was ousted from power and executed.
The lyrics of the National Anthem of Romania
Awaken thee Romanian from your sleep of death
Into which the barbaric tyrants have sunk you.
Now or never, sow a new fate for yourself
To which even your cruel enemies will bow!
Now or never, let us show the world
That through these arms, Roman blood still flows;
And that in our chests, we still proudly bear a name
Triumphant in battles, the name of Trajan!
Raise your broad forehead and see around you
How, like fir trees on a mountain, brave youths of a hundred thousand
An order they await, ready to pounce, as if wolves on sheep.
Old men and young, from mountains high and plains wide!
Behold, mighty shadows; Michael, Stephen, Corvinus,
The Romanian nation, your great-grandchildren.
With armed hands, with your fire in their veins,
“Life in liberty or death”, they all proclaim!
You were vanquished by the evils of your envy
And by blind disunity at Milcov and the Carpathians
But we, whose souls were pierced by holy liberty,
Swear that forever in brotherhood, we will join!
A widowed mother from the time of Michael the Brave
Of her sons, she today demands a helping hand
And curses, with tears in her eyes, whosoever
In times of such great need, a traitor proven!
Of thunder and brimstone should they perish
Anyone who flees from this glorious calling.
When homeland and our mothers, with a sorrowful heart,
Will ask us to cross through swords and blazing fire!
Have we not had enough of the barbaric crescent’s yatagan
Whose fatal wounds do we still feel today?
Now, the knout[note 3] is intruding on our ancestral lands
But the Lord is our witness that we won’t accept it as long as we are alive!
Have we not had enough of despotism and its unseeing eye
Whose yoke, like cattle, for centuries we have carried?
Now the cruel ones are trying, in their blind arrogance,
To take away our language, but only dead shall we surrender it!
Romanians of the four corners of the world, now or never,
Unite in thought, unite in feeling!
Proclaim to the world that the Danube has been stolen
Through intrigue and coercion, sly machinations!
Priests lead with holy crosses, for this army is Christian,
Its motto is liberty, and its goal is all too holy.
Better to die in battle with eternal glory,
Then to once again be slaves on our ancient lands!*