On Halloween, even though it is not a Romanian traditional celebration, the people in Romania’s biggest cities are happy to join the fun dressed as ghouls, vampires, mummies and other creepy characters. Or at least they were, until last year, when the Romanian Halloween changed forever.
The 2015, the Romanian Halloween was different. It reminded the Romanian people that death can be something so real that joking about it isn’t fun anymore. The tragedy happened the day before 31st of October and ended months after. It is one of the greatest tragedies that happened in Europe in 2015.
It all happened on Friday night when a local rock band was holding a concert in a Bucharest club named “Colectiv”, nearby the historical part of the city. This club was in an old communist former factory.
The Romanian Halloween or the moment death stared us all in the face
The band named “Goodbye to Gravity” was entertaining the crowd with one of their latest hits – “The day we die” (listen below).
Ironically enough, as they sang the song, some fireworks lighted up the show. However, one spark lit up one pillar inside the club. The band members asked for an extinguisher. But in no more than a few seconds, the ceiling started to burn. Hundreds of people tried to exit the pub. But the wide opening of the doors intensified the flames with oxygen. The ceiling burned with intoxicating fumes in seconds and the flames melted the ceiling fabric pouring hot plastic on the people trapped inside. Even though the doors were open, hundreds of people couldn’t get out as fast as the fire was turning the club into ashes. And soon enough people were turned into ashes too.
People were tripping over each other and some managed to get out in time, others didn’t. About 25 people died on the spot that night carbonized or just intoxicated with poisonous smoke. Other 40 people died the following days and weeks. Bucharest’s medical services operated at full capacity that night. But, for some, the help came too late.
Friends, daughters, sons, loved ones died that night. And as the tragedy unfolded before the Romanian eyes and as a nation wiped in sorrow of a tragedy that shouldn’t have taken place, Halloween was forgotten. All the Romanians realized that year that, as you are staring in the ugly face of death, you can’t joke about it anymore.
And many people of Bucharest will never celebrate Halloween, years from now on, because of that night that should have been a laugh in the face of death and became a night when death laughed instead.
However, the tragedy changed the government at that time, as people went into streets in protest regarding the superficial or bribed safety checks carried on by the Romanian careless authorities. Since those horrific days however, things started to change. Clubs that didn’t follow safety and security measures were closed and every bar, restaurant, club or pub was verified in detail so that such tragedy wouldn’t ever be repeated. The young people who died that night made a sacrifice. Now, all the establishments where people go to have fun are safe in Bucharest, checked to the last fire prevention authorization.