Neighbourly help

For the most part, neighbourly help has disappeared from our country. A brief explanation of what we can understand by this term in a historical context:

Neighbourly cooperation is a folk custom characterised by the creation of a framework and the performance of collective work, as well as being a custom of community support. From the characteristics of the work performed, there were different types of neighbourly cooperation, carried out by the whole community or by its representatives grouped by age and gender, to help one of the villagers when the work to be done exceeded the labour capacity of one family. Neighbourly help also provided the framework for work of common interest, such as the construction of roads and bridges, the maintenance of meadows, pastures and forests, or complex agricultural and construction work. The procurement of building materials (stone, wood, clay), the construction and roofing of houses, ploughing, haymaking, harvesting, mowing and grain husking were occasions when the villagers, especially the young people, were called upon to “work”. As a rule, these gatherings were held on a church holiday so that as many people as possible could take part. The work was combined with singing. At the end of the work there was a dance or game, and it was the task of the “host” to ” treat” the participants. The neighbourly help, which arose in the process of work from the humanity, solidarity and spirit of mutual aid that had always characterised Romanian peasants, were a constant exchange of mutual services designed to support and promote the unity and social cohesion of the community. Their purpose was not only economic (they increased the pace of work, provided a framework for the transmission of skills and knowledge about work), but also ethical and cultural. Source:

In our village, neighbourly cooperation is still used mainly for fodder production and sometimes for the preparation of firewood, but it no longer has the influence and importance compared to the beginning of the last century. The mechanisation of agriculture and the emergence of construction services have led to an individualisation of labour, with neighbourly help existing in small, unorganised groups. A new approach could be the “agricultural cooperative”, but this has been slow to catch on due to the historical connotation of collectivisation, which was forcibly introduced in the first half of the last century.

However, in a community as small as the village of Cund, the principle of mutual help and support can have a real impact if a responsible organisational solution is found, both in the agricultural sector and in other areas of community life.