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Cultural Events and Customs in Romania

Dragobete is an old Romanian tradition that celebrates love and its guardian, Dragobete, which is identified with Cupid and Eros, the gods of love in Roman and Greek mythology.

This day marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the birds matting season.

Dragobete is the patron of pure love and good will and he personifies the engagement of the animals and the youngsters as well. In the past, young unmarried women and men had to meet this day in order to be in love within the year. They used to gather in small groups and go into the forest to pick up the first spring flowers, while singing and shouting with joy.

The unmelted snow still present in many villages at that time of the year, used to be collected, and the water obtained used as a magic potion by young girls during the year. The tradition is well preserved especially in the villages of Oltenia.

The 'Martisor' represents a tradition that goes back quite far away.

From olden times, this little ‘amulet’ was made of two entwined pieces of lace, coloured white and red.

They represent the days, the weeks and months of the year all bound together. They are offered as a good omen on the very days that used to mark the beginning of the New Year for the Romans.

The women especially used to tie it to the necks or hands of their loved ones. That is why it was especially popular with children and young people, but to this day, the date of March 1 marks the beginning of several days when little 'March gifts' or 'Martisoare' are exchanged with a frenzy that is paralleled only by the impetuous coming of Spring.

After they wore them, people used to tie them to the blossoming branches of trees around their homes. They were sure they were going to be all healthy, as beautiful as flowers, pleasant and loving, rich and lucky, protected from illnesses and the evil eye.

May this spring bring the same to you and may you come to Romania, where you can discover this and many other fascinating traditions along Cultural Travel & Tours!

Flowers Day (FLORII)

Flowers Day is celebrated on the last Sunday before Easter. It marks the resurrection of nature, when the trees and the flowers blossom.

It was initially dedicated to the Roman goddess Flora, but then it was celebrated in the memory of the Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem.

On this day, people use to bring flowers and willow branches to the church, for being sanctified by the priest. With the holy willow branches, symbol of spring and fertility, cows and little children are touched, in order to grow and bloom as the willow. The holy branches are then placed near the icons or above the door and are used throughout the year as a medicine or for protection against the natural disasters. It is also believed that the people who wear the willow branches as a belt will not suffer of loin aches.

It is also a day for commemorating the dead, when the burial places are cleaned and willow branches are put above. On Flowers day women take out the “martisor” and they hang it on the blossoming branches around their homes.

Christmas in Romania

In Romania, Christmas is known as “Craciun” and it is considered one of the most important religious holiday. When the holiday arrive, the romanian people go shopping for decorations for their houses and the Christmas Tree, bake cakes know as “cozonaci”, send Christmas cards and decorate the Christmas tree in the Christmas Eve.

A very important Christmas custom practiced is the sacrifice of a pig a few days before Christmas Eve.
So, the celebrations start in the day of the Christmas Eve “Ajunul Craciunului” when children decorate the Christmas Tree and their mothers cook the dinner. The hole family meets in the Christmas Eve and they eat and the children wait for Santa Clause “Mos Craciun” to arrive with gifts. They sing traditional carols such as Steaua (”The Star”), Trei Pastori (”The Three Shepherds”) and Mos Craciun (”Santa Claus”) and after that Santa gives them their presents.

On the first day of Christmas many carolers walk through the streets holding a star made of cardboard and paper. They also carry a large wooden star “Steaua”, which is wrapped up with metal foil and adorned with bells and coloured ribbons.

Traditional foods of Christmas in Romania:

Ciorba de perisoare – a slightly sour vegetable soup made with fermented bran and pork meatballs.
Sarmale – Sour cabbage leaves stuffed with ground pork and served with polenta.
Friptura de porc – pork garnished with pickled vegetables or mixed salads.
Cozonaci – cake filled with nuts, cacao and raisins.


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