In Iasi there operates several minority ethnic cultures: Armenian community, the Greek community, Ukrainians community, Lipovan-Russians community, Hebrew community, the community of Italians, Germans community, the Roma community and the Arab community.
The Union of Armenians in Romania – Iasi Branch
The Armenian Community is a community that keeps alive ancient traditions and customs, the legal form of NGO was organized in 1990. This community consists of 50 Armenian families that revolve around a coagulated nucleus. Young Armenians enjoy the support of “seniors” and the cultural activities organized periodically to keep alive the spirit of the Armenian community. Cultural calendar of the Armenian Union of Romania – Iasi Branch is carefully implemented by the board of the organization, whose president is prof. Dr. Agop Maricel.
Every year there are marked the most important holidays of the Armenian people’s lives, such as Armenian Christmas – January 6, Mother Language Day – February 21, Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide – April 24th, Independence Day – September 21 and Minorities Day – 18 December. The leading figures of contemporary Armenian community in Romania are the writer Varujan Vosganian and singer Harry Tavitian. Vosganian is an economist, politician and writer and is the chairman of the Armenian Union of Romania from its reestablishment and is also the vice president of the Writers Union of Romania in 2005. Harry Tavitian is one of the personalities that have marked the evolution of Romanian jazz, considered by the American media as the most important contemporary Romanian jazz-man.
Greek Community in Iasi – The Cultural Association “Dionysos”
The Cultural Association “Dionysos” was founded in August 2005 and it’s representing the interests of Ellen minority in Romania, including those from Iasi. The Association aims at promoting and maintaining the culture and traditions of Greek in the Romanian territory and the development of bilateral relations between the two countries. According to the population census from 2011 in Iaşi live 178 Greeks, but now their number has almost doubled. Regardless of age, about 300 Greeks in Iasi wish to maintain their ethnic culture being actively involved in all events organized by the Greek community. Among community members there are also many supporters and lovers of the Ellen culture who participate and are involved in the activities of the Greek community in Iasi.
Cultural Association “Dionysos” is always open to collaborations and projects that are related to social, educational and cultural meaning. In achieving objectives, the association always enjoys unconditional support of local authorities and partnerships with institutions in the public, private and other NGOs. In the Ellen Community in Iasi, Romania subsidiary of the Ellen Union, the most relevant reference is the assembly and traditional Greek dances, established in 2002. In 2005 both dance ensemble and some of the members withdrew from the Ellen Community and established the current Cultural Association “Dionysos”, which functions as a community.
The Ukrainians Community from Iasi
The Union of Ukrainians from Romania – Iasi Branch is one of the 13 subsidiaries located in Romania. Iasi Branch was established in December 2007 with 16 founding members and currently their number reached 165 members and supporters, three times more than the census of 2011 provided (51 Ukrainians). The fundamental aim of the Union of Ukrainians from Romania is to defend the rights of expression and promotion of ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious Ukrainian minority, rebirth and unity and national consciousness formation, to protect individual and collective rights of its members and to strengthen the relations between Romania and Ukrainia.
The Union of Ukrainians from Romania is an ethnic profile, non-governmental and non-profit organization who is also represented in the parliamentary as the Ukrainian community and is part of the Council for National Minorities in Romania. So far, the community has participated in all key events in Iasi, but also in events held in Suceava, Tulcea, Maramures County or in Ukraine, Chernivtsi and Vinnitsa.At the International dance festival held in Kavarna – Bulgaria, the Ukrainian community from Romania has achieved popularity trophy with it’s ensemble.
Lippovan Russian Community in Iasi
Beginnings of the Lippovan Russian dwelling in Iasi are not directly attested, but it’s known that Lippovan Russian were present in Moldova in the first half of the eighteenth century. In 1805, Prince Alexander of Mourousis issued a document that guarantees religious freedom of Russians that lived on Moldavian realms. Even from the beginning, the community was concentrated around the church, located on the right bank of the marshy meadow of the riverBahlui, below the Royal Court. Traditional occupations were gardening and an important crafts guild of merchants. The area of homes where the majority of the Lippovan Russians was concentrated in Iasi disrupted along with the systematization rate ofBahluiand was subsequently disbanded as a result of the modernization of the neighborhood PodulRoș in the 70s of last century, people were displaced in the new blocks.
Currently, the community is made up mostly of ethnic villages and towns coming from Moldova and they are attracted by the possibilities offered by a large economic and university center. It is a dynamic community, numbering about 800 people, conscious of the value and importance of traditions, cultural and linguistic heritage that they bear. Children are studying Russian mother tongue as a school subject and are involved in various educational and cultural activities that promote knowledge of the language and ancient culture. Young people are also involved in community life, traditional dance ensemble members“RADUGA”, being excellent ambassadors of the Iasi community, acknowledged by the country scenes.
The Jewish community in Iasi
The first Hebrew settlements in Iasi would date from the end of the fifteenth century and mid-sixteenth century. Jews settled in Iasi in the same time with the Armenian population. It has been confirmed that the Jews wereleaded by a Spanish rabbiAroyo for 40 years in the 1578.Demographic, in 1821 Iasi had 4654 Dajna-Hebrew people, 31,015 people (47% of total) in 1859, 39,441 in 1899 (50.8% of the population of Iasi) and in 1910 the number was reduced to 35.000. The year 1919 was very important for the community as it was reorganized after modern concepts. In the same year elections were held for the first local authority. The community was recognized as a public service by the Ministry of Culture in 1927. In 1939 there was 116 synagogues in Iasi, a kindergarten, three elementary schools for boys and girls, four religious schools (Talmud Torah), a yeshiva, a second school, a general hospital, a hospital for children, two nursing homes for the disabled, an orphanage and a home for old age. Currently in Iaşi there are only two synagogues and religious services are conducted in the administrative headquarters of the community,hence the Great Synagogue isbeing renovated and will be completed by 2016. The number of Hebrew people is currently at 350 of people, mostly with the age over 65 years.