The National Anthem of Romania

Andrei Muresan's poem "Un rasunet", written and published during the 1848 Revolution, found the adequate music within a few days, as the anthem was sung for the first time on June 29, 1848 at Ramnicu Valcea (in Wallachia the revolution had broken out on June 11). The poem became an anthem under the title "Desteapta-te romane" ("Awaken Thee, Romanian") and spontaneously earned recognition owing to its energetic and mobilising message.

Since 1848 "Desteapta-te romane" has been a song dear to the Romanians, giving them courage in the crucial moments, during the Independence War (1877-1878), just as during World War I. In the moments of crisis after August 23, 1944 when, after the state coup, Romania turned against Hitler's Germany and then participated in the war along with the Allies, this anthem was spontaneously sung by everyone and was aired on the national radio, keeping the whole country on alert.

The same happened on December 22, 1989, at the time of the anti-Communist revolution; the anthem rose from the streets, accompanying huge masses of people, dispelling the fear of death and uniting a whole people in the lofty feelings of the moment. Thus, its institution as a state anthem came by itself, upon the tremendous pressure of the demonstrators.
The message of the anthem "Desteapta-te romane" is social and national at the same time; social because it imposes a permanent state of vigil meant to secure the passing to a new world; national because it gears this awakening to the historical tradition. The anthem proposes that sublime "now or never," present in all national anthems from the paion with which the Greeks fought at Marathon and Salamina to the French revolutionary Marseillaise. The invocation of the national fate is the peak a people can reach in its soaring towards the divine. This "now or never" historically calls upon all vital energies and mobilises to the full.

Romania's national anthem has several stanzas, of which the first four are sung on ceremonial occasions.

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The lyrics of the Anthem

The lyrics of the national anthem belong to Andrei Muresan (1816-1863), a Romantic poet, journalist, translator, a genuine tribune of the times marked by the 1848 Revolution. The music was composed by Anton Pann (1796-1854), a poet and ethnographer, a man of great culture, a singer and author of music textbooks.

"DESTEAPTÃ-TE ROMÂNE!"
("Awaken Thee, Romanian!")

Desteaptã-te, române, din somnul cel de moarte,
În care te-adâncirã barbarii de tirani
Acum ori niciodatã croieste-ti altã soarta,
La care sã se-nchine si cruzii tãi dusmani.

Acum ori niciodatã sã dãm dovezi în lume
Cã-n aste mâni mai curge un sânge de roman,
Si cã-n a noastre piepturi pãstrãm cu falã-un nume
Triumfãtor în lupte, un nume de Traian.

Înaltã-ti lata frunte si cautã-n giur de tine,
Cum stau ca brazi în munte voinici sute de mii;
Un glas el mai asteaptã si sar ca lupi în stâne,
Bãtrâni, bãrbati, juni, tineri, din munti si din câmpii.

Priviti, mãrete umbre, Mihai, Stefan, Corvine,
Româna natiune, ai vostri strãnepoti,
Cu braÞele armate, cu focul vostru-n vine,
"Viata-n libertate ori moarte" strigã toti.

Pre voi vã nimicirã a pizmei rãutate
Si oarba neunire la Milcov si Carpati
Dar noi, pãtrunsi la suflet de sfânta libertate,
Jurãm cã vom da mâna, sã fim pururea frati.

O mamã vãduvitã de la Mihai cel Mare
Pretinde de la fii-si azi mânã d-ajutori,
Si blastãmã cu lacrãmi în ochi pe orisicare,
În astfel de pericul s-ar face vânzãtori.

De fulgere sã piarã, de trãsnet si pucioasã,
Oricare s-ar retrage din gloriosul loc,
Când patria sau mama, cu inima duioasã,
Va cere ca sã trecem prin sabie si foc.

N-ajunge iataganul barbarei semilune,
A cãrui plãgi fatale si azi le mai simÞim;
Acum se vârã cnuta în vetrele strãbune,
Dar martor ne de Domnul cã vii nu oprimim.

N-ajunge despotismul cu-ntreaga lui orbie,
Al cãrui jug de seculi ca vitele-l purtãm;
Acum se-ncearcã cruzii, cu oarba lor trufie,
Sã ne rãpeascã limba, dar morti numai o dãm.

Români din patru unghiuri, acum ori niciodatã
Uniti-vã în cuget, uniti-vã-n simtiri.
Strigati în lumea largã cã Dunãrea-i furatã
Prin intrigã si silã, viclene uneltiri.

Preoti, cu crucea-n frunte cãci oastea e crestinã,
Deviza-i libertate si scopul ei preasfânt.
Murim mai bine-n luptã, cu glorie deplinã,
Decât sã fim sclavi iarãsi în vechiul nost'pãmânt.