The Desteapta-te, Romane! reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
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Desteapta-te, Romane!

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Deşteaptă-te, române is Romania's national anthem.

The lyrics were composed by Andrei Mureşanu (1816-1863) and the music by Anton Pann (1796-1854). It was written and published during the 1848 revolution, initially with the name "Un rasunet" (An echo). It was first sung on June 29 of the same year in the Râmnicu Vâlcea city, it was immediately accepted as the revolutionary hymn and renamed "Deşteaptă-te, române" (Wake up, O, Romanian!).

Since then, this song, which contains a message of liberty and patriotism, has been sung during all major Romanian conflicts, including during the 1989 anti-communist revolution. After the revolution, it became the national anthem, replacing the communist national anthem "Trei culori".

It was also the national anthem of Moldova for a few years, but was replaced in 1994 by the current Moldovian anthem, "Limba Noastră".

Since 1848, ÓDesteapta-te romaneÔ has been dear to Romanians, giving them courage during the crucial moments of events such as the Independence War (1877-1878) and World War I. In the moments of crisis following the state coup of August 23, 1944, when Romania turned against HitlerÒs Germany and 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, due to the tremendous pressure of the demonstrators.

The message of the anthem ÓDesteapta-te romaneÔ 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 Ónow or never,Ô present in all national anthems from the pain 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 Ónow or neverÔ historically calls upon all vital energies and mobilizes to the full.

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

Besides this anthem, the Romanians also have ÓHora UniriiÔ (ÓThe Union DanceÔ), written in 1855 by the great poet Vasile Alecsandri (1821-1890) which was sung a lot on the Union of the Principalities (1859) and on all occasions when the Romanians aspired to union and harmony among themselves. ÓHora UniriiÔ is sung on the Romanian folk tune of a slow but energetic round dance joined by the whole attendance. The round dance (hora) is itself an ancient ritual, symbolizing spiritual communion, equality and the RomaniansÒ wish for a common life.

Deşteaptă-te, române, din somnul cel de moarte,
În care te-adânciră barbarii de tirani!
Acum ori niciodată croieşte-ţi altă soartă,
La care să se-nchine şi cruzii tăi duşmani!

Acum ori niciodată să dăm dovezi în lume
Că-n aste mâni mai curge un sânge de roman,
Şi că-n a noastre piepturi păstrăm cu fală-un nume
Triumfător în lupte, un nume de Traian!

Priviţi, măreţe umbre, Mihai, Ştefan, Corvine,
Româna naţiune, ai voştri strănepoţi,
Cu braţele armate, cu focul vostru-n vine,
"Viaţă-n libertate ori moarte!" strigă toţi.

Preoţi, cu crucea-n frunte! căci oastea e creştină,
Deviza-i libertate şi scopul ei preasfânt,
Murim mai bine-n luptă, cu glorie deplină,
Decât să fim sclavi iarăşi în vechiul nost' pământ!

A somewhat literal translation:

Wake up, O Romanian, from your deathly sleep
Into which you've been sunk by the barbaric tyrants
Now, as at no other time, create yourself a new fate,
For all others to accept, even your cruelest enemies.

Now, as at no other time, let's send proof to the world
That blood of Romans still flows inside these hands.
That in our chests we still maintain our pride in a name
The victor in his battles, the name of Trajan!

Watch on, shadows of highnesses, Mihai, Stefan, Corvine,
The Romanian Nation, your great grandchildren,
With weapons in their arms, with your fire in their veins,
"Live free or die!" all shout.

Priests, lead with your crucifixes! Because the army is Christian,
The motto is Liberty and the goal is holy,
Better for us to gloriously die in battle,
Than to once more be slaves upon our ancient ground!

Better Translation:

Awaken thee, Romanian, shake off the deadly slumber
The scourge of inauspicious barbarian tyrannies
And now or never to a bright horizon clamber
That shall to shame put all your nocuous enemies.

It's now or never to the world we readily proclaim
In our veins throbs and ancestry of Roman
And in our hearts for ever we glorify a name
Resounding of battle, the name of gallant Trajan.

Do look imperial shadows, Michael, Stephen, Corvinus
At the Romanian nation, your mighty progeny
With arms like steel and hearts of fire impetuous
It's either free or dead, that's what they all decree.

Priests, rise the cross, this Christian army's liberating
The word is freedom, no less sacred is the end
We'd rather die in battle, in elevated glory
Than live again enslaved on our ancestral land.

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