In most languages and cultures there are words that are difficult to translate to other languages. We get close with a translation, but never precise. This has to do with many things. A word and a concept has history, feelings and memories. Words also evolve in a social, political and cultural context.
I put the Romanian word ‘ dor ‘ in this category of words. I instantly fell in love with this word, as I first experienced it as something that has to do with a deep, profound longing. I was thinking of my longing to Romania as a constant ‘dor’. The more I learned about the word, the wider I realized it’s meaning. I don’t know either, perhaps I can never fully understand it ?
I asked four inspirational, Transylvanian women about their conception of the word ‘ dor’. Here is what they say.
Alina Zara-Prunean from Mandra Chic and Tara Fagarasului.
Ana Borca from IIA Calatoare.
Elena Daniela ‘Dana’ Graura, from Casa Terra and Tara Fagarasului.
Natalia Corlean, from the Parish of Bucium and the Cultural Centre of Bucium.
Longing/DOR is the sum of all our nice memories, which will never come back! In the same time, paradoxically it is the mixture that make all the past things forever gone, to come back. One way or another!
- When I was tired, unbalanced, when I was shivering of cold or being afraid, when I was bending on my knees, laying my head on my Grandma’s lap. That was dor. Her hands smelling like basil and they were caressing me, until the peace was comforting my soul.
- Last year, in the beginning of March, Alin, my DEAR husband, brought me a big ‘tulnic’, from Apuseni Mountains, tied with white and read rope. So that I can send my stories worldwide with it, swinging it , and with a good sense of echo, telling my stories like they were once told. I felt then, such a strong emotion that I have tied the spring and the ‘Martisor’ to it, to my dear Alin. Forever!
- In the stairs of a block of flats in Bucharest, I ran a whole summer in slippers with high heels, 5 times bigger than my normal size. I was a child. At the first floor, from the doorjamb, my aunt Nuti and my uncle Gicu were looking at me, and at the 4th floor my friend Laura was waiting for me!
- On a Sunday, not long time ago, at the Liturgy, an angel come down from an icon to me, singing a ‘never heard song’, that was bringing a light vibration. The light… that we all yearn.
- When we were kids, my sister and I , received, as a Christmas gift the most beautiful dolls in the world. They were red and fluffy, with long feet. So long that they both left abroad and we couldn’t join them.
- My dad waiting for me at the gate, at home.
- Once when I was on the back hill of our garden in Mândra, a rainbow butterfly set on my right shoulder. A butterfly like I never saw and I will never ever see again.
Tulnic – musical instrument. Alpine Horn
Martisor – Romanian symbol
When you asked me about the meaning of DOR, I felt butterflies in my stocmach, and this happens whenever I have DOR in my heart. For me, DOR has two dimensions: it refers to people and to places. To translate this word I would say it is like missing someone or something, missing people, missing the way they make you feel or the way you feel around them and then missing places, the way I feel when I am in these places.
I asked people around what DOR is for them, and the answers differ so much.
Some see it as a pleasure, some as a power that moves the universe and some like an impulse to make you fiind new experiences or people.
For me, DOR is a pain…a pain in my heart…a strong desire to re-see someone and something, but all in all, a big hole in my heart that needs to be filled. I mostly feel DOR when it comes to places, places where I find myself, where I feel the connection with nature. Places that remind me to think more about myself and to put silence in my storm of thoughts.
Because I like to travel a lot, I have this DOR all the time…DOR for travelling.
Elena Daniela ‘Dana’ Graura
Anyone who has been away from home, in other countries or continents can feel dor. It occurs when he is tired of the big cities and tired of worries that take over him. Dor also occurs especially when he is being stung by hunger and he will have only one thought which will invade his mind and spirit : DORUL – with the meaning of homesickness.
This DOR will take his thoughts where he used to feel best. He will be missing his grandmother and her constant worries of “what shall I cook you” or “I’ve made your favourite dish”. Everything used to have such great taste, taste which nothing can measure up to nowadays.
There is such a profound memory of taste that anything we may eat, however interesting and provocative in taste it may be, will be subject of comparison to the flavour, the aromas and the emotion that our grandmother used to create.
DOR is indeed a Romanian word and you need all the Romanian spirituality to define it.For me, DOR is a mark of unconditional love – a love that melts my rationality and makes me “think” with my heart.DOR fills my heart with grace.DOR is profound communion. It’s a communion with the ones I love – alive or passed away.DOR has no physical limits, the bounds are eternal.DOR also means longing for my roots, for my land, for my people and for my country: a desire to be all as one, in love, strength, and peace.DOR is feeling the spiritual world.So, for me, DOR = eternal love, beauty, grace, faith, light, sky, blessing, bound, freedom, strength and communion.DOR is endless.