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Romanian festivals

Romania has many beautiful festivals and traditions. People have festivals for each season.Here are some festivals that Romanians celebrate in Spring:

The Paparuda "Rain Caller" is the ritual celebrated in Spring on a date that varies from place to place. An old magical dance invoking rain, this customs survived to the present day in many villages of Romania.
The children knit coronets, adorning them with ribbons. Then they dance, going from house to house.
The hostess throws water and milk after them. The children and the young people have to receive a coin or wheat, corn, flour or bean.

The March Amulet is a traditional Romanian custom.
Every year Romanian people knit two little tassels: a white one and a red one. At the beginning of March, they offer this amulet to the girls they love…
In Moldavia, part of Romania, all persons can receive a little March amulet. Red means love for everything that is beautiful and white symbolizes the pureness and health of the snowdrops, the first flowers that appear in spring. 

Painted Eggs

Painted Eggs


Lad’s Day – a Spring Custom
When it is spring and you are in Braşov, a natural thing to do is to ask when the traditional holiday called Junii Braşovului is held - a spring festival of Braşov’s unmarried young men. A spring festival of the Braşov Juni, comprising a parade of the local costume, a suite of very old dances, held in a part of the town of Braşov, the Schei district, where the first Romanian school was opened (1495) and which saw the beginnings of the printing house of Deacon Coresi (1560). Observing “old-time rules”, as the documents of the time mention, the “juni” (comprising persons from 18 to 20 years of age) are divided into seven groups, each having distinct names: young juni, old juni, “curcani”,“roşiori”, “armaşul mare” , “armaşul mic” and “sutaşul”. This custom is considered to be an initiation ritual, when the boys have to pass a number of tests of maturity and bravery: throwing the mace, springing them up into the air in a counterpane. Every year on the eve of the festival, the juni set out from prund Square, the centre of Schei district, riding beautifully adorned horses; they cross the district and stop at a place named “Pietrele lui Solomon” (Solomon`s Stones) where they enjoy themselves, dance the hora and fling the mace.
In the evening they all ride down to 23 August square, in the old centre of Braşov, in a real parade of the folk costume.

Here are some Festivals that Romanians celebrate in

Summer:

Dragaica:This very ancient agrarian custom is connected with the harvest, still survives sporadically in certain villages in the south of Romania.

The "Dragaicas" are little girls of 11 to 12 years old, adorned with ears of corn. One of them is dressed as a bride and another one is dressed as a boy named "Draganu". Sometimes Draganu is a boy. He holds the banner of the "Dragaicas": a pole with a rag-doll with outstretched arms, made of ears of corn or of a bunch of ears and with wormwood and garlic at its top.

The "Dragaicas" sing and dance in a circle without holding hands. At intervals they whirl round and yell and the Dragan, the boy, whistles on an ordinary whistle. Wishing to amplify the performance, the little girls have added to the original ritual dance other dances borrowed from the grown up dancer. A flute-player or a piper who accompany them plays the music.

Traditions in August

Hercules - Folklore Festival at Cerna
The first week of August- Băile Herculane, Caraş Severin Country

The festival, also known as the „Folklore festival of the Settlements on the Cerna” is a part of a justified action meant to stimulate and turn to account popular creation in a folklore area lying between the Cerna and Mehedinţi mountains.

Amid the beautiful highland scenery of the resort of Băile Herculane (Herculane Baths), there takes place a real outpour of genuine songs and dances performed by artists from the rural Mehedinţean settlements of Izverna, Prejna, Podeni, or from the places in Caraş-Severin -Mehadia, Cornereva, Topleţ, etc, well-known folklore centers boasting invaluable artistic treasures.

The competition of the popular dancers and singers is preceded by a number of assemblies of experts in local folklore, aimed or studying, theoretically and practically, natural links between tradition and contemporaneousness
The Romanian Căluş

Last week of August, Saturday and Sunda - Slatina, Olt County

For two days  „The Căluş ”, an ancient Romanian dance, the expression of the Romanian people’s artistic genius, of their energy, liveliness and spiritual nobility, the purified image of the millenary existence of the inhabitants on this territory appears in all its splendor at Slatina under aspects of an astonishing variety displayed with unparalleled art by the dancers from Osica, Vâlcele, Bălăneşti, Coloneşti, Priseaca, Icoana, Brâncoveni, Izbiceni, Scorniceşti, Radomireşti, Movileni (Olt County), from places in Teleorman, Vâlcea, Argeş, Dolj, Gorj, Hunedoara, Alba, Ilfov and Mehedinţi counties.

The folklore pageant which every year opens this real mini-Olympic competition of „caluşari ” is in fact a charming review of the costumes of the caluşari and of the distinct style of each separate team of dancers. Then it comes thrilling competitions of virtuosity, interrupted now and again by solo dancers, some of whom are very old men, and even children who have inherited their parents` talent.

Every edition also occasions interesting exhibitions of folk art objects and symposium attended by researchers who study this old and always young folk dance.

described by Florina, student of 6th E, "Liviu Rebreanu" School Mioveni, Arges county, Romania (published by teacher Ana Tudor)

Traditions for 15 August

The main celebration of Mary is 15 august ( "Saint Great Mary"), which is called the celebration official the Orthodox churches "Assumption".
Further, all churches are celebrating the Virgin birth ( "Saint Mary Minor") on 8 September, and on September 12, the Roman Catholic Church is celebrating Holy Name of Mary.

Also, and both Catholics and Orthodox celebrate, depending on the country, region and tradition, various occurrences or icons of the Virgin Mary.

Both Catholics and Orthodox, and especially Anglicans, make a clear distinction between such veneration (which is also due to the other saints) and adoration which is due to God alone.

The name "Mary" comes from the Greek Μαρία, which is a shortened form of Μαριάμ. This is a transliteration of the Hebrew/Aramaic name Maryam. In later Hebrew the vowel "a" changed (regularly) to "i" in a closed unaccented syllable, so that by the time the Jews began to use vowel points, they wrote it as Miryam.

The title, Queen Mother, was given to Mary in early Christianity, since Mary was the mother of Jesus, who was sometimes referred to as the "King of Kings" due to a claimed royal line of King David. The Biblical basis for this understanding is found in 1 Kings 2:19-20, where King Solomon made his mother, Bathsheba, his queen mother present in his royal court, and honored all of her requests and requests from those who petitioned her. This governmental practice is also found throughout 1 and 2 Kings and in Jeremiah 13:18-19. In ancient Middle Eastern cultures, it was common for a king to have more than one wife; however, the king only had one mother and was an integral part of each royal court.

In this great day, the icon of the Virgin Mary, present in the houses of Romanians, is ornate with flowers.

The faithful people, peasants still wake up in the morning, take the best clothes they have cupboard and is proceeding to do church, where the entire job listens.

The woman share gifts to the others.

It celebrated and Navy Day, because Mother of God is the protector of seafarers.

ROMANIAN WEDDING TRADITIONS

The wedding is the most interesting family custom of all. It is also a complex custom which has various traditional forms all over the country and combines economic, law, ritual and folkloric elements. The popular "show" is almost fabulous. The acts from the marriage foundation are ritual and ceremonial meant to bring prosperity, fecundity, happiness and social integration to the young family.

In this moment the popular costume gains some specific significances and the act of the ceremony is composed from many customs: the well - wishing at the bride's gate, the dowry dance in the bride's yard and the parents forgiveness, then the wedding at the groom's house, the gifts and the bride's adorning.

The musical repertoire is suitable: "the dowry dance", "the big dance", "three times around the table", "the bride's grief song", "the bride's ring dance", "and the big ring dance".

described by Alexandra and Liviu, Scoala "Liviu Rebreanu" Arges, Romania (published by teacher MARIANA RADULESCU

Cutting of the Bride's Cake

- a PowerPoint presentation made by students of  School Apoldu de Jos, Sibiu County, Romania (published by teacher Gabriela- Mirela Tudor

In my town MIOVENI was the International Folkloric Festival (made by Mariana Radulescu, Scoala "Liviu Rebreanu" Mioveni, Arges)

 

Traditions in Autumn:

 

A very important moment:

The opening of a new Kindergarden in my county Arges, Romania

(a slide show made by Mariana Radulescu, Scoala "Liviu Rebreanu" Mioveni, Arges, Romania)

Nedeia of the Mountains

Fundata, the highest village in Romania, was largely left alone, thanks to its hilly topography. Pine trees bristled above the shepherds' huts on the lush green slopes beyond the village. Nestling in the bosom of the Carpathian foothills, it is where, each summer, the villagers hire a mountain on which to graze their sheep communally, and a team of local shepherds is engaged to look after the flock.
Fundata's Nedeia of the Mountains, on the last Sunday of August, is the traditional gathering for the highlanders of the Braşov, Argeş and Dâmboviţa regions. It's a traditional folklore fair originally held for shepherds to meet their future wives.
The Romanian pastoral festival and fair from Fundata is the feast of the shepherds from the mountain area and it was initially a meeting which celebrated the solar god. This feast called at the beginning the pastoral festival and fair or Saint Eli's day was related to the most important occupation of the inhabitants of both mountainsides of the Carpathians -grazing - and it took place on Saint Eli's mountain in the middle of the pastoral summer.
The initial connotations were different than the actual ones. Its meanings from the 19th century were rendered by those who wrote about this custom. Then, its purpose was that of selling specific products and of introducing youth to each other for future weddings. The pastoral specific has been preserved in the shepherds' habit of giving beautifully notched distaffs, and in the songs and the traditional dances.
Since 1965 this custom is called "The Romanian pastoral festival and fair" and it became an opportunity of entertainment. A folk performance and a fair where craftsmen sell their hand-made objects complete the celebration

The Cross-Day

Celebrated on the 14th of September each year, The Cross-Day is dedicated to the gathering of the last remedying plants, rockets and others.

People say that on this day the flowers complain one to another that they will dry up, and they also say that those that blossom after this date- the autumn crocus, belong to the dead. It is known that on this day the snakes gather into hazel woods and that it isn't good to kill them.

This festivity is in the same time the sign for the beginning of the gathering of the crops from the wine-yards and of the nuts too.

 

Traditions in WINTER

 

Colinda (Carol)

Certain elements of the folk rituals performed around Christmas are probably pre-Christian in origin, having their roots in the Roman Saturnalia and pagan rituals related to the winter solstice and soil fertility.

Colinde are performed in all parts of Romania, with regional variations in terms of number of participants, exact timing of different melodies and lyrics.


In traditional Romanian rural society, preparations for colinde started well in advance (sometimes weeks) before Christmas. The village youth (usually boys) would begin to form groups in different places and designate a leader in order to practice singing in unison. These groups are called cete de colindători, and their numbers vary from region to region. Then, starting on Christmas Eve, the groups would go to different houses and begin singing. In some villages, they go first to the mayor's house, followed by the teacher's house, whereas in other parts there is no pre-established order. The families would them invite them into the house, and give them different small gifts such as nuts, dried fruits and pretzels.

Examples of colinde with religious subject are "Astăzi s-a născut Hristos" (Today Christ was born), "Moş Crăciun cu plete dalbe" (Santa Claus with white hair) and "O, ce veste minunată!"(O, what wonderful news!).


December – Time of the

Most Generous Santa

The popular naming of the month, Neios, refers to the plentiful snowfall with which nature makes us happy in this period, while other local names, Andrea, Indrea and Udrea keep the memory of St. Andrew, being celebrated on the last day of the preceding month.
This month is also special because it signifies the winter's beginning in the Official Calendar (1st December), but also in the Popular Calendar (6th December, Santa Nicholas) and the Almanac (the day of the winter solstice).
What is specific for this time of the year, commercially named, Presents' Month, is that it means a great deal both for kids and grown-ups, being populated by characters that don't come empty-handed.
The first of the full bag Santa is Santa Nicholas, a real character of Christian hagiography, bishop of Myra, probably dead around 342, defender of faith in Jesus. In Romanian tradition he appears on a white horse - as a sign of the first snow - and he protects the Sun, so the people won't be deprived of light and warmth. He is the support of the sailors whom he saves from drowning, of those who are hardened - widows, orphans - and of poor girls that hardly get married. His most important quality is his generosity, being the one who brings presents to children, whom he also punishes, when they are naughty and disobedient, with his proverbial rod. It is said that Santa Nicholas has a great open-road around God, because when the sky is opening at midnight, he is seen standing at the kingly table just next to Him. Beyond the Decembers' half, in a festive atmosphere of maxim importance for Christianity and our lives, two brothers are dwelling, Santa Eve and Santa Claus. The Divinity celebrated on 24th December and being arrived, after 365 days, at the end of the road is, in Romanian tradition, Santa Eve, Santa's Claus brother.

Going from house to house to sing Christmas carols is one of the Christmas's customs that is best kept in all the Romanian villages, including those from Alba county. Apart from the mystic message, a lot of customs practiced on this day are connected with the cult of fertility and with attracting of good upon the farms.

Nineteen Days of Celebration

The Christmas celebration lasts 3 days (December 25th-27th), however, in a broader sense it lasts a total of 19 days (December 20th-January 7th). The customs, magical practices and rituals whereby the world is symbolically recreated, mainly through Santa’s annual’s death and rebirth, can be broken down into two symmetrical periods. These are separated by a moment of “cutting through time”, from which the counting of days begins; thus, the ensuing first period is a rather ill-fated one, spanning between the Ignat (the pig’s ritual sacrifice) and the midnight before Christmas or the New Year, followed by a beneficial period spanning between the midnight before Christmas or New Year and Saint John’s Day. The former period is abundant with customs remembering the deceased to which Dionysiac cult elements are added, whereas the latter includes temporal rebirth practices, typical for the New Year’s creative beginning.

The ritual sequences commencing the celebration of Christmas begin on December 20th, also known as the “Ignat’s Day”, a day when a pig is sacrificed so that ritual food can be prepared for the Christmas feast out of its meat. Next comes Christmas Eve when the caroling begins, children being the first to perform this ritual, clustered in groups that will open with the carol “Oh, What Wondrous Tidings” (“O, ce veste minunata”), “Three Wise Men coming from the East” ( “Trei Crai de la Rasarit”), usually known as the ‘star songs’.

On Christmas day, children and grown-ups alike wander around, singing carols. They may come from all over the country, for instance from central and southern Transylvania, Crisana and sometimes from Banat. Traditionally, they perform their carols wearing masks. The mask stands for a god in his zoomorphic instantiation, impersonated by the group leader, who wears the mask while performing the carol. Turca (the stag, BORITA) is born at the same time when the mask is made, and it revels and makes merry with the group of carolers acting as its divine company, dying violently, club-beaten, shot or drowned, so that it may be reborn in the New Year. Quite often, the group’s leader has fun scaring women and children with the mask; at the same time he may ask for his due, the money’s worth he thinks he should receive for the ritual he performed, being offered the most honored guest’s seat at the group’s ceremonial table. Tradition has it that the heavens open on Christmas night, so that the spirits of the deceased may spend time with their beloved ones who are still on earth. Several biblical characters, such as St. Nicholas, St. Demetrius and St. George can be seen sitting at the princely feast.

During Christmas, a series of ritual deeds are performed, meant to purify the space through lighting a fire and putting on the lights; in the olden days, the Christmas log was sacrificed, whereby a fir-tree trunk was cut and burnt in the hearth on the night of December 24th; the ritual symbolizes the Divinity’s death and rebirth, impersonating the year to come. This yearly sacrifice is part of an ancient burial ritual which has been replaced by the adorned fir-tree, laden with many gifts brought to children by Santa Claus. This custom became pervasive in the countryside, coming from the urban area, at the beginning of the 19th century, being also attested by the Romans, Serbo-Croatians and the Latvians. Thus, the Christmas tree we know today and the native custom of the blazing of the fir tree overlapped.


On St. Stephen’s Day, practically the first important sequence, that of temporal degradation, closes up with the burial ritual of Christmas, through a death and rebirth parody, organized by groups of young men, following the scenario of a genuine burial. Gathered at the “Folk dance house”, the young men pick up the one who will impersonate Christmas. He is seated on a wooden ladder, being covered, so that he may not be recognized. When the parodied burial ritual ends in humorous verses chanted on the melody of the funeral service ”The Dead” is thrown away, from the ladder onto the ice. That very moment, the Reborn Christmas (The New Year) accompanied by young men and merry folk dance melodies, comes to the house where the dance is performed and the Christmas charity dinner is offered.

During the Christmas period until St. Basil’s Day (January 1st ) in Maramures, the magical practice is known as “the tying up of the beast in the forest”, which consists of laying a loaf of ritual bread, named High Steward, on the table, which is then tied with an iron chain. After 8 days, on New Year’s Day, the loaf of bread is cut into slices eaten by children and animals, and the chain is put in front of the stable, so that the cattle may step over it.