A great way to better grasp the Romanian language is through its sense of humor. Romanian jokes offer a way to learn the subtleties of language and sentence structure as well as give an insight into Romanian history and culture.
Recurring Characters In Romanian Jokes
An irreverent peasant who is often portrayed as a fool, Păcală is often found demonstrating his contempt for the authorities, such as judges, members of the nobility, and priests.
Appearing in countless stories from Central Asia and beyond, Nasreddin is a fictional character who is central to satirical anecdotes and humorous short stories. He can play witty and wise hero but is all too often the fool who is the butt of the joke.
Iţic and Ştrul
As with many parts of Europe where the Jews settled, fictional characters have been created to poke fun. Iţic and Ştrul are often portrayed as cunning and ingenious but ultimately avaricious.
Under Nicolae Ceaușescu and the communist era, Bulă was created and depicted as a buffoon, a fool, and a coward. It is not a coincidence that his name sounds very much like ‘Pulă’ a slang term in Romanian for penis. The character is so popular that he was voted to the position of 59th greatest Romania to ever have existed in a Romanian television poll.
Introduced after the fall of communism, Alinuţa is a stupid, sadistic young girl growing up facing the rise of capitalism.
Ion and Maria
A young peasant couple often depicted as gypsies, Ion and Maria’s jocular situations more often than not revolve around sex.
Depicted as an old shepherd, Badea Gheorghe is used to make humorous observations on deeper topics and often has a simplistic take on life and death.
A relatively recent addition to the pantheon of humorous Romanian characters, Dorel was initially introduced through television adverts depicting him as a clumsy, accident-prone worker. The comic scenarios he often finds himself in are usually because he has messed up in some way with his construction work.
Different regions across Romania have developed distinctive styles of humour and often poke fun at one another. For example, the Moldavians have a reputation for being big drinkers who are also proud and witty. Those from Transylvania are often seen as a bit slow in the way they think, speak and act. The people of Lesser and Greater Walachia are said to be quick-witted but often open their mouths before thinking.
Romanian Jokes And Ethnic Humour
Just like in any other country, Romanian jokes often focus on stereotypes from other cultures.
Usually portrayed as vodka-swilling heavy drinkers.
A Russian spy, a sexual predator, and a billionaire walk into a bar
The bartender says “What can I get you, Mr President?”
Clever but greedy.
A Romanian, a Jew and a Somali are sitting under a tree. A caterpillar gets on the Romanian’s shoulder.
The Romanian throws the caterpillar at the Jew, the Jew throws the caterpillar at the Somali. The Somali picks up the caterpillar and eats it.
Another caterpillar gets on the Romanian, the Romanian throws it at the Jew, the Jew picks it up and asks the Somali: “Do you want to buy a caterpillar?”
Seen as proud but a little bit naive.
A Hungarian man travels by train to a Romanian town with his Romanian friend. He sees a warning sign on the train windows: “sticking your head off the window strictly forbidden! electricity poles close to the train! danger!”. The sign is in Romanian, English, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili, but not in Hungarian.
He asks his old family friend: “why is this sign translated into so many languages but not Hungarian as well?”
Companion replies: “well, you guys are allowed to!”
Usually the butt of the joke because of their technological backwardness.
How do you stop an Albanian tank?
Shoot the Albanian guy pushing it.
Stereotypically branded as thieving, workshy, and poor, gypsies are often also characterized as having large families and terrible personal hygiene.
Why do gypsy boys let their mustaches grow?
To look more like their moms.
Romania under communism was a hotbed of humour. The absurdity of the repressive system and economic hardship became a breeding ground for irreverent humour even though during the communist era it was dangerous to tell political jokes as they were deemed illegal. This style of old Romanian joke remains popular but now it is directed at the politicians who are often portrayed as greedy and corrupt.
Under communism, a line forms around a street corner. A man passing by sees it and asks the last one in the line: “What are they selling here?” “I have no idea”, is the reply, “go and ask someone ahead of me in the line”. The man goes to the middle of the line and asks another person: “What are they selling here?” “I have no idea”, the man replies and he is sent on ahead to find an answer.
The man goes to the first person in line and asks him: “What are they selling here?” The man answers: “Nothing, I just felt sick and had to lean on this wall.” “Well, why are you still here?”, the man asked. “Because I’ve never been the first in such a long line”, the man replies.
The police are also the butt of Romanian jokes because they are considered idiots and stereotyped as stupid and corrupt, much like the politicians.
How do you choose a stupid police officer from a group of policemen? At random.
Learning a language through a country’s jokes and humour makes the process so much more enjoyable. By downloading Ling App today you will find numerous other ways to make learning Romanian fun such as games, puzzles and quizzes. The Ling App is available right now at App Store and Google Play.