The Art of the Romanian Haystack
At this time of year, the green fields of the Romanian countryside are full of new haystacks. Over the centuries, Romanians have refined the method of haystack building into an art. Because of their unique characteristics, this style of haystack exists nowhere else on earth.
During the freezing Romanian winters, the haystacks provide livestock with their much needed food supply. Without it, their animals would perish, putting the family at risk for starving as well. Great care has always been taken in the construction of these stacks, some of which tower over four meters. The skills needed to build the perfect haystack have been passed down the generations for over a thousand years.
These haystacks are deeply embedded into Romanian culture. When the country was occupied by Turkish forces, bandits and freedom fighters would hide in the haystacks. Turkish soldiers while on patrol would often stab into a stack to catch someone hidden inside.
Yet hiding in the haystacks is more associated with love than war. In the past, farmers had to watch their daughters closely, especially with the hired help around. The building of a haystack could lead to an amorous relationship, with the interior of the haystack providing the perfect place for a rendezvous. Suspicious fathers would often stab the haystacks with pitchforks as a warning to scare away would be suitors and to ensure their daughters’ good names remained intact. It is said that many young men in the past bore a scar that was referred to as a “love fork”.