I decided to begin writing about contemporary Romanian culture in order to provide some (hopefully) useful insights to people interested in learning about the way Romanians act and think. Since it’s summer, I will begin this series with a post about spare time activities in my country. Although I used as a source a press release from the Romanian Institute of Statistics, I am not going to bore you with figures, but give you a short, personalized account instead.
According to the aforementioned source, Romanians seem to behave in a traditional manner when it comes to spare time. A first point supporting this statement is the fact that men enjoy more leisure time – despite spending more hours at the office – than women, who are usually in charge of domestic activities (such as cooking, taking care of children and of their household etc.). No surprises here, Romania is a male-dominant country (just slightly, though ). The types of activities preferred are traditional as well, with TV watching being the favorite spare time of middle-aged Romanians and computer gaming and online social networking being the dominant hobby for teenagers. It is noteworthy, however, that the younger generations are slowly giving up TV and embracing online film platforms (a couple of services are available on the Romanian market including seenow and voyo.ro).
Regarding physical activity, there is an ever-growing array of activities that people can join. Women can sign up for all sorts of exercises, from pilates to tai bo, kangoo jumps, cardio and many more, while men can opt for fitness clubs, body building and spinning sessions. There are more and more synthetic pitches and tennis clubs, especially in large cities which Romanians can use in their free time. In addition, there has been an increase in sports events organized throughout the country, such as marathons, biathlons, swimathons, cycling races etc. In the past couple of years, there has been a boom in physical activities in Romania as people have started realizing that exercising is essential to their health and well-being.
On the other hand, alternative spare time clubs and activities are not common in Romania. If you’re looking to sign up for an afternoon literature class, a reading club or a jazz club, chances are you will have a limited range of options. It appears that Romanians are not educated to take up such activities. But who knows, maybe the future generations will bring about a change in that direction considering that children can indeed sign up for various activity clubs. Volunteer work is also quite limited, although there are plenty of opportunities to enrol in various activities.
In conclusion, Romanian society is rapidly evolving towards a Western way of life and with the economic transition from communism to capitalism being complete, people can now focus more on spare time activities. They have realized that in order to enhance their well-being, they should forget their work-related worries once they leave the office and indulge in pleasant, relaxing activities.