At the suggestion of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (otherwise known by its Hungarian acronym of RMDSZ), the government has recognized the blazon of the commune of Apáca (Apata, Geist). A remarkable 17th century Transylvanian pedagogue, philosopher and Calvinist theologist, János Csere Apáczai was born in the village of Apáca in 1625. The book which appears in the coat of arms is in fact a reference to the great scholar, who was also the author of the first Hungarian Encyclopedia.
As RMDSZ Minister of Development, Public Works and Administration Attila Cseke pointed out in a statement, Apáca is the 16th municipality to have its blazon officially recognized since RMDSZ became part of the coalition government. (The three-party cabinet lead by Prime Minister Florin Cîţu was sworn in following parliament’s approval on the evening of December 23 last year.)
The blazon of Apáca is placed on a triangular shield, with a representation of a castle in place of a helmet. The coat of arms is divided into three parts, with a symbol in the middle of each field: the castle representation in the left field denotes the former citadel of Apáca; the open book in the right field is a reference to the most famous native of the village, János Csere Apáczai; while in the third part of the shield, a rooster connotes a very old Easter tradition, details the RMDSZ statement.
Rooster-shooting in Apáca is believed to be a several-centuries-old tradition. As the legend says, during a 17th century looting of the Tartars, locals hid from the enemy in the castle and took all their animals with them. The intruders were surprised to find that the village was empty. Nevertheless, they burned down the whole settlement. Unfortunately, when they were about to leave, a rooster began to crow in the fortification. As their hiding place was discovered, most of the villagers were slaughtered. Survivors then stabbed the traitorous rooster on an iron fork and shot it. According to the legend, ever since, a rooster is shot in the village every Easter. Since World War II, however, the live rooster has been replaced by a rooster painted on a target.
The village of Apáca is located on the left bank of the Olt River, 22 kilometers northwest of the city of Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfântu Gheorghe) and about 35 kilometers north of the city of Brassó (Braşov, Kronstadt). The name of the locality refers to the inhabitants of its former monastery, as Apáca means nun in Hungarian.
The settlement was founded in the 14th century by Hungarian King Louis I (1326-1382) when he set up Szekler border guards in the region. The first documented mention of the village dates back to 1460, under the name Apáczija. The first fortification of Apáca was likely built by the Szekler border guards, and it was probably a palisade, which was then rebuilt in stone in the 16th century due to repeated lootings by the Turks. Only the ruins of a tower can be seen today, in the northern part of the village.
Title image: The blazon of Apáca. The commune is the 16th municipality to have its blazon recognized since RMDSZ has been in the government