December 1, Marea Unire (The Great Union) is currently Romania’s National Holiday.
It is celebrated in Bucharest with a somewhat pompous, Cold War-style military parade through the capital that starts up at Casa Scanteii around 11:00 and usually circles around the Arc de Triumf.
The best viewing spots are along Soseaua Kiseleff, but arrive early as crowds can be big. Also worth noting is that there is usually a dress rehearsal the last Saturday before the day itself: if you really want to see grown men and women playing at soldiers that could well be the best time to do so.
A parallel event takes place in Alba Iulia, where the Marea Unire actually took place, for what December 1st celebrates is the day in 1918 that the representatives of the Romanian population of Transylvania (which had been part of Hungary or the Hapsburg Empire for centuries) voted to unite with the Principalities of Romania (Moldavia and Wallachia).
Moldavia and Wallachia had in turn had their own unire on January 24, 1859. January 24 is also a national holiday. A major ceremony takes place in the northeastern Romanian city of Iaşi.
The Marea Unire provokes fierce debate to this day. Though Romania’s hegemony over Transylvania is not now questioned by anyone except the most fervent Hungarian nationalists, the manner in which the Hungarian minority of the region has often been treated (either persecuted or favoured, depending on your point of view) and its ongoing right to self-determination, are valid political topics even today.