Posts filed under ‘.Romania’
In Romania we celebrate Saint Nicholas Day, Christmas and New Year.
Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated on the night of December 5th, when children are cleaning and polishing their boots carefully and put them by the door or on the windowsill to wait for St. Nicholas’ (Moş Nicolae) visit. He is generous to parents as well as children, putting a little present in each boot. In some areas, branches or thin twigs are left as a warning that behavior needs to improve. It is one of the most important Romanian holidays.
Christmas is known as ‘Crăciun‘ in Romania and is celebrated on December 25th. The celebrations begin with the decoration of the Christmas Tree on Ajunul Craciunului (Christmas Eve). Romanian children receive presents from Moş Crăciun (Santa Claus) in the evening of Christmas Eve and do not leave milk and cookies out for Moş Crăciun.
Carols, called ‘colinde‘ in Romanian, are a very important part of the Romanian Christmas festivities. Throughout the Christmas season, children visit every house in the neighborhood singing carols such as Steaua sus răsare (The Star) and Moş Crăciun (Santa Claus) and reciting traditional poems and legends. In return for such performances, carolers receive apples, nuts, traditional cakes (cozonaci), and sometimes even money from each house.
Traditional Romanian Christmas meals include saramale (stuffed cabbage rolls) with mămăligă (polenta), many types of pork sausages, roast pork, pickles, beef salad. The traditional Christmas dessert is called “cozonac”. It is a rich sweet bread filled with ground walnuts, raisins,dried fruits, similar to the Italian panettone. It requires a long preparation time that begins early on the morning of Christmas Eve.
Romanians welcome the New Year with the traditions that have been around for centuries. The children as well as the adults, take part in the joyous celebrations with great enthusiasm. On New Year’s Eve in Romania, children sing Sorcova and Pluguşorul. The songs wish good luck, happiness and success.
On Christmas Eve and the following days until Epiphany, one would also meet in the streets groups of boys carrying a huge star, and singing:
“Who receives the star,
The bright, beautiful star?”
On the first Christmas day, children walk in the streets of snow covered towns and villages, when holding in their hands a star made of board and paper with a biblical scenes painted in water colors or an icon showing Virgin Mary and baby Jesus, they sing somewhat of a question:
“Do you receive the pretty star,
Pretty and so bright?
It has appeared on the earth
Just like God through it would be right
And it could be seen on high,
Just like we did, in the sky.
The “Star Carol” is a tradition during the 3 days of Romanian Christmas.While holding the star in the hands the children sing:
“The star has appeared on high,
Like a big secret in the sky,
The star is bright,
May all your wishes turn out right…”
After a romanian folktale about the days of Baba Dochia
A long time ago, there was an old woman forgotten by time and kindness, who lived in a cottage of stone, up in the mountains. Baba Dochia was her name.
It was so cold inside her soul that she was always dressed up with nine lambskins.
Only her son Dragobete and the sheep lived with her.
But Baba Dochia didn’t like Nora, and made her life hard, giving her odd jobs.
That year it was a cold and long winter. One day, Baba Dochia blames Nora for the bad weather and sends her to bring spring flowers.
Wandering in the cold, she meets a kind man, Mărţişor. She tells him her sad story, and Mărţişor gives her some white snowdrops that bring spring.
Happy, Nora is running back home with the snowdrops. It was the first day of March.
She is dressed with the nine lambskins, but it rains on the mountain and the skins get soaked and heavy. Dochia has to get rid of them, one lambskin every day.
After nine days, the frost comes back, the rain turns into ice, and Baba Dochia and her sheep turn into stone.
You can still see the Babele stones up in the mountains.
Once upon a time, the Sun used to take the shape of a young man and descend on Earth to dance among folk people.
A dragon found out about this and followed the Sun on Earth, captured him and confined him in a dungeon in his castle. Suddenly the birds stopped singing and the children could not laugh anymore, but no one dared to confront the dragon.
One day a brave young man set out to find the dungeon and free the Sun. Many people joined in and gave him strength and courage to challenge the mighty dragon.
The journey was long and lasted three seasons: summer, autumn and winter.
At the end of the third season the brave young man could finally reach the castle of the dragon where the Sun was imprisoned. The fight lasted several days until the dragon was defeated. Weakened by his wounds the brave young man however managed to set the Sun free to the joy of those who believed in him.
Nature was alive again, people got back their smile, but the brave young man could not make it through spring. His warm blood was draining from his wounds in the snow. With the snow melting, the snowdrops, harbingers of spring, sprouted from the thawing soil. When the last drop of the brave young man’s blood fell on the pure white snow he died with pride that his life served a noble purpose.
Since then people braid two tassels: one white and one red. Every 1st of March men offer this amulet called Mărţişor to the women they love or friends. The red color symbolizes love for all that is beautiful and also the blood of the brave young man, while white represents purity, good health and the snowdrop, the first flower of spring.
Mărţişor Gallery and Card
Mărţişor and solar eclipse
Legenda Mărţişorului (.ro)