THEY have always been cuckoo in Marsden – and, it seems, in Romania!

Romanian visitors are coming to Marsden this weekend to learn about the famous Cuckoo Day – so they can create their own version back home.

Misu Ciobanu and his wife Livia wanted to create a Cuckoo Day style festival in the Romanian region of Bukovina, known for its picturesque beech forests and painted monasteries.

The couple come from a village called Brodina, near the town of Radauti, where they run a charity called the Hannah Foundation.

It helps underprivileged children get an education and a job.

As part of their work, they hold festivals and events designed to develop art skills and to promote the charity.

The Ciobanus have acquired some land in Brodina and plan to develop it into a festival venue. They have already staged two small arts events but they want to create something bigger and better, incorporating music and folk traditions.

They spotted the website for Marsden’s Cuckoo Day and were invited to the Cuckoo Day on April 25 and 26.

Philip Thompson, Cuckoo Day organiser, said: “We invited them to come over and see the festival. It is a big compliment for the Cuckoo Day festival to be such an inspiration.”

Cuckoos are part of Romanian tradition. In Brodina there is a song called ‘Cânta cucul bata-l vina de rasuna Bucovina’, which is all about the bird.

The Ciobanus hope to have their own version of Cuckoo Day set up by 2009.

Mr Thompson said: “We hope that musicians and artists from England might like to participate in a few days of music and exchange of experience with local artists. I think it is a good idea and way of getting cultures to integrate and inspire each other.”

Romanian band Paprika Balkanicus will be appearing at this year’s Cuckoo Day festival.

They play a fiery blend of traditional gypsy music from the Balkans and Eastern Europe and are among the hottest newcomers in world music, with a big following in the UK, Europe and Japan.

Entertainment at this year’s Cuckoo Festival will begin on April 25, but the main events will take place the following day on April 26.

The festival will feature street entertainers, local bands, a Punch and Judy show, an owl display, vintage engines, craft demonstrations, maypole dancing, morris dancing, children’s rides and entertainment, singing events, a duck race and of course, the Cuckoo Procession, with Marsden Silver Prize Band and majorettes in the parade.

Cuckoo Day is held to mark the start of Spring in Marsden and is inspired by a local legend.

Many years ago the people of Marsden realised that when the cuckoo arrived, so did the spring and sunshine. They decided to try and prolong its stay to keep the good weather and built a wall around its nest. However, they built it too low and the cuckoo flew away. As the legend says, ‘It were nobbut just wun course too low!’