Window Woes

Possibly one of the most interesting cultural differences about Romania concerns windows. Or rather, what an open window lets in.

A draft.

I remember the first time I went to Romania, back in the summer of 2010. It was very warm, but air conditioning is not a common amenity in Europe, let alone in Romania. So the mission team I was serving with decided that we would open the doors and windows to our hotel rooms at night.

The cool night air was a welcome relief from the nearly unbearable heat. I’d even say the mosquito bites I received due to lack of screens on the windows were worth it.

We spent the majority of our time during the trip at an orphanage. One of the first things we noticed was that all of the windows were closed. When we went inside and realized how hot it was, we wondered why the workers didn’t open the windows to let some cool air in for the kids. After all, the mosquitoes aren’t bad during the day.

Eventually we found out that the reason the workers kept the windows closed wasn’t because of the mosquitoes, but because of “the draft.” Apparently, many Romanians believe that a draft -no matter how refreshing- can lead to serious health issues, or even death.

It sounds strange to us, seeing as how many of us are used to driving with our windows down or opening a window to let in some fresh air, but  Romanians are very cautious in this area.

Another blogger by the name of J.S. Bangs wrote a humorous article about his encounter with “the draft” in Romania. He linked to another blog post by Ask A Korean!, which might just have some scientific evidence to back up the belief that a draft can be deadly.

So what do you think? Is there a medical mystery behind “the draft”, or is it merely a misconception?

1 thought on “Window Woes

  1. I think it is a misconception. I had a Korean roommate last year, and she opened the window frequently. While she told me about certain aspects of Korean culture and beliefs, health issues caused by a draft never came up.

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