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Romanian traditions in the springtime: Martisor

Romanian traditions: Martisor

Martisor celebration is symbol of spring time and fertility in Romania and Bulgarian tradition.  Martisor is a small jewel or decoration attached to a red and white string and it is offered during March ( “Martie” in Romanian).

Today the custom is more commercial, men offering as “martisor”s to women al sort of broche or gifts with the white and red string. In fact the story of Martisor is more connected with the string itself.

The myth says that Sun came down on Earth transformed into a beautiful young girl. A bad dragon found out that beyond  that beautiful woman was the sun and imprisoned her into his dark castle. After Sun disappeared everything went sad, from animal and flowers in wilderness to the playing children.  .

One brave lad,  seeing all the unhappiness around him decided to  confront the bad dragon. He looked for the castle an entire year, summer, autumn, through the winter. When he finally found the Dragon, the spring time was approaching. There was an incredible fight between the young man and, finally, the  young man killed the dragon and released the you girl. She transformed into Sun again, started shining and everybody regain happiness.

The young man was so bad wounded that the his blood poured into the white snow . The snow , under the heat of the sun melt and snowdrops started growing. It is said that people wear with and red string to remember the brave man.

I do not know if many remember this, but Martisor in Romanian tradition it is an optimist day, happening on 1st March.  Men offers sometime snowdrops and the feeling that freezing season is left behind incite to happiness.

Also, the traditions says that the Martisor is worn the entire March and at the end of the month the string should be placed in a fruit tree. To be honest, I haven’t seen too many fruit trees with red and white strings, this is a reason to remind you. To be completely honest, my friend Annie remind me that Martisor ( 1 of March) is pretty close and I have to take attitude.

Enjoy your spring season!!!

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Romanian Christmas Traditions

Christmas Celebration in Romania

 

As I have already wrote, on December 20th, people celebrate “the Ignat Day”, the sacrificial day when the pig is slaughtered. Even if you are poor and you cannot afford a pig,  Romanians should sacrifice another animal. An old belief was that in the night before Ignat, the pig dreams of its knife.

 

Before he Christmas  „Mos Ajunul”  ( The Old before Christmas Man)„Plugusorul” (the little plough) Carols are sang and interpret it, little girls and boys come on the community doorstep and sing their carols. As a rewards they receive apples, nuts, pretzel  and money nowadays. The singers invoke Nativity, Christianity but also their singing is like a praise for well being.

 

Christmas is the essence of Romanian food and family gatherings.  Romanian food is almost rough; Romanians do eat for Christmas lard bacon, nicely smoked, cabbage rolls with minced meat (sarmale),polenta.

 

Almost all over Romanian, the priest blesses the feast, people bring form every meal they had cooked and the priest is the first to taste the meals, and only after that do the rest of the household start eating. The pig slaughter on Ignat day is a purely Romanian custom, some consider it barbarian, but it is incredible friendly and family involving. The house wife also cooks the cake, a specific Christmas cake, pastry like.

 

There are other customs like the Goat tradition (Capra), where people dress in goats and wear goat masks and costume and go from door to door in large groups, dancing on the flute tunes. this is an ancient Roman custom. Then there is the Bear custom (Ursul), known only in Moldavia, where young people dress up as bear and cubs and go out in groups to sing and dance but this tradition also kept.

 

In the Romanian Christmas traditions, within the typical Romanian family, there is a lot of love, poetry, fairy tales and respect. Whoever wants to get to know the Romanian spirit has to enter a Romanian house, especially during winter time. He will see the Romanian bowing to the East, where light comes from, and how he makes the sign of the cross before eating, or how before cutting the bread, the traditional Romanian woman makes the sign of the cross three times.

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Saint Nicholas day in Romania

Saint Nicholas day in Romania

 

Saint Nicholas arrives in Romania on the 6th of December, every year, bringing   the winter holidays, the Christmas and the New Year.

On the evening of the 5th of December everybody polish their boots and line them close to the entrance, expecting to be filled with presents.  Saint Nicholas usually brings sweets, fruits and nuts as presents, but also a scary stick for spoiled children.

Saint Nicholas takes care of each member of the family.

 

In Romania is the second winter celebration after Saint Andrew day, on 30th of November.