In Romania, December 1st is more than the official beginning of winter. On this day, Romania commemorates the unification of Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina with the Old Romanian Kingdom composed of Wallachia and Moldavia. On December 1st, 1918, the National Assembly of Romanians of Transylvania and Hungary met in Alba Iulia and decreed the unification of the territories inhabited by Romanians. King Ferdinand then signed the law on December 11th, which decreed:
“The lands named in the resolution of the Alba-Iulia National Assembly of the 18th of November 1918 are and remain forever united with the Kingdom of Romania.”
Even though the official Union took place in 1918, December 1st was not declared an official day until after the Romanian Revolution of 1989, which put an end to the Ceausescu Regime. The first celebration took place in Alba Iulia.
Annually on December 1st, the Romanian flag flies over Romanian homes and institutions. The three colors of the flag symbolize the three Romanian provinces that unified: Transylvania (blue), Wallachia (yellow), and Moldavia (red). Also on this day, numerous military parades are conducted, and national leaders deliver public speeches in cities such as Bucharest and Alba Iulia. Throughout the country, numerous concerts are organized to celebrate the day. The most important moment of the day is the performance of the national anthem „Deșteaptă-te, române!” (”Awaken thee, Romanian!”), that symbolizes the patriotism, courage, and unification of Romanians.
This year, Romania celebrated 99 years of its Great Union, and 3,500 soldiers and specialists from the Romanian Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Romanian Intelligence Service, with more than 350 vehicles and weapons, including 50 aircraft, participated in the Military Parade that began at the Arch of Triumph Square in Bucharest. In addition to the Romanian units, militaries from several Allied or partner countries participated in the parade. Over 300 foreign soldiers came from Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Moldova, Slovakia, the USA, Turkey, and Ukraine. Also in Bucharest, a military and religious ceremony occurred at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Carol I Park.
A military ceremony with 25 military devices was also held in Alba Iulia, the city of the Great Union. Locals and tourists were welcomed with a hot meal of traditional Romanian dishes such as beans and sausages and cabbage with meat. At the request of the local authorities, representatives of the Romanian Armed Forces conducted military and religious ceremonies, met with veteran soldiers and sailors, and they organized military equipment exhibitions at some locations where large military units are stationed.
The Romanian National Flag was also raised at all the military installations around the country and aboard sea and river vessels. Romanian militaries deployed in missions abroad also celebrated the National Day of Romania.