• Italy!

    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

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    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

  • Ireland!

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    The Emerald Isle is world famous for its landscapes, foods, beers, and culture. Explore Ireland!

  • Serbia!

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  • Armenia!

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Social Life in Moldova

Greetings

In much of Moldova and even among many people in large cities it is common to greet passers-by (including strangers) with the words buna ziua (good day). If the individuals know each other, men generally shake hands and greet each other with the word salut or naroc, which are informal forms of "Hello." Generally close friends hug each other and may kiss each other on the cheek.

For the Russians the most common greeting is "добрый день"/dobry dein (good day), but the Russians rarely greet anyone unless they have a personal relationship or you enter a public space such as a restaurant or shop. Like the Moldovans, men generally shake hands and use the more informal "привет"/privet.

As there are language barriers among each other and between the Moldovans and foreigners it is common to hear Russian and Ukrainian speakers ask Moldovan speakers if they speak Russian (the de facto language of communication); in Moldovan this is "vorbesti Rusa or Ruski?" or to ask a Moldovan speaker if they speak English say: "vorbesti engleză?" As language issues are sensitive among the native Moldovan speakers, it is best to greet a Moldovan with the phrase: buna ziua, vorbesti engleză?

Behavior

The people of Moldova maintain much of the Soviet mentality as they rarely get involved in other people's personal affairs and tend to keep to themselves when in public. Due to this attitude, the people take offense at few things. Although everyone will notice odd behaviors and cultural abnormalities, rarely will anyone point out your cultural mistakes.

As a visitor to Moldova try to follow the lead of the locals by dressing in alike manner (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our Moldova Dining & Food Page), and avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, or showing off wealth.

Dress

Traditional dress in Moldova is quickly dying, although there are still aspects of it seen everywhere. For centuries the people have dressed simply as women preferred dresses and men tended to wear simple pants, boots (for the fields), and shirts. All these clothes were decorated with simple patterns along the cuffs, collars, and other areas.

Today the people have changed their dress to match that of any other European country. Boots are still common as are other western-styled clothing, but the decoration is gone as patterns and styles are similar to that found elsewhere in Europe. Women wear pants for much of the year, but skirts are popular in the warm summer months, while it is rare for men to wear shorts, even during the summer. As a visitor to Moldova you are welcome to wear nearly anything, but in business and religious settings dress on the more conservative side. Also be aware that nakedness and women going topless is restricted in most locations, although in night clubs and discos it may seem like the women are wearing nothing at all... and at some dance clubs that may be accurate. If in doubt, follow the example of the locals or ask.

Arts, Entertainment, & Sports

As a country that struggles financially and has a strong focus on family, it seems most of Moldova's arts and entertainment scene is somewhat muted. There is little money to spend on art and entertainment as free time is generally spent with close family and friends around a dining table.

In addition to this, under Soviet rule most entertainment was in the Russian language and was censored by the government, limiting what was available in the form of entertainment. Only since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 has there been any development of Moldovan language music, movies, or even literature.

Also in 1991 came the introduction of foreign entertainment, such as music and movies, essentially dominating the market and not allowing many local movies or music to thrive. For many people, going to a movie or concert is simply not a part of their culture, although this is slowly changing.

Of the entertainment options, sports seem to be the most popular as anyone can play in their spare time, especially when there is little required equipment to buy. Soccer (football) is the most popular sport in the country today, but the national sport is a form of wrestling called trânta. Rugby and tennis are also popular, but much less common.

Chess is also a common form of entertainment and is taken so serious by some, especially the ethnic Russians, that it is considered a sport.

Moldova's Top Arts, Entertainment, & Sports Options:
-There is little artistic entertainment beyond Chisinau, but the capital offers the best of the country
-The best soccer (football) team is the Tiraspol team, Sheriff, so head there for a game

Learn More about Moldova's Arts, Entertainment, & Sports:
-Listen to "O-Zone," a pop band from Chisinau, famous for their 2003 hit "Dragostea din tei" (Buy Now)
-Read Yevgeny Onegin by Alexander Pushkin; it is loosely based on Pushkin's time in Chisinau (Buy Now)
-Read Playing the Moldovan at Tennis by Tony Hawks; it goes into the sports scene and the culture of Moldova (Buy Now)

This page was last updated: March, 2013