The Most Beautiful Easter Traditions in Romania. Egg Painting, Wearing Something New and Good Luck Rituals
Easter is the most important Christian holiday, and in Romania it is celebrated observing a lot of rituals, of both religious and folkloric nature. Eggs are colored or even covered in complex, artful drawings, some lamb dishes are prepared, as well as traditional sponge and cheese cakes, everyone has to wear something new and the whole family goes to church. And because Easter symbolizes a new beginning, there are also some popular practices meant to bring good fortune over the year. Here are some of the most beautiful Easter traditions in Romania.
Homemakers are very busy these days, preparing everything for the Easter holiday. House cleaning should be almost finished and the preparations for the Easter festive meals begin. On Thursday before Easter, women color eggs, mainly in red to symbolize the blood of Jesus, and those eggs are eaten and offered all through the holiday. On this day they should also bake the special sponge and cheese cakes that are traditionally eaten at Easter.
The most beautiful Easter traditions in Romania. Preparations
Friday, the day of the crucifixion, is an important fasting day, when there’s no cooking. People got to the church with flowers to commemorate the burial of Jesus. An woven image of this scene is placed on a table, symbolizing the grave, and, one by one, people crawl under the table and come out to the other side. There’s the belief that this way they leave behind all the bad things in their life up to then, and will start fresh with better luck.
In the evening there’s a mass for Jesus’ funeral (Prohodul), when participants surround the church holding candles.
Saturday preparations for the holiday restart and have to be done by night. Traditional lamb dishes are cooked – sour soup, steak, stew etc. Those who didn’t color the eggs or baked the cakes on Thursday can do it now. In the evening, women should put together a nice basket with what they cooked and take it to church for the food to be blessed at the Easter Vigil mass, at midnight.
The most beautiful Easter traditions in Romania. Service of Light
There are huge crowds of people in churches and all around them, on the streets, towards midnight, when the Service of Light takes place at the Easter Vigil mass. Light brought every year from the Holy Grave in Jerusalem is spread all over the country and people receive it from the priest at midnight, singing the joy of Resurrection.
At the seaside, there are special services on the beach, attended by locals and tourists.
Afterwards, everyone goes home with the light and it is said that the candle bearing it should be kept over the year and lit again when there’s trouble in the home.
The food that was brought to the church is offered to others after the service, in the memory of the deceased. In the countryside, people even go to the cemetery right after church to light candles for their loved ones that passed away.
Returning home, the family has the first Easter meal that very night.
The most beautiful Easter traditions in Romania. First Easter Day
Easter Sunday is traditionally spent at home by the whole family. Some people go to the church on Sunday morning as well for the service. Everybody should have something new to wear on Easter Day, also to mark the idea of a spiritual renewal.
A beautiful tradition on Easter morning involves the whole family washing their face with water from a bowl where a red egg and a silver coin or other piece have been added. The red egg must go around and touch the faces of everyone in the family, from elders to babies, to bring that healthy red in their cheeks, while the silver is thought to bring strength and brightness.
At the beginning of every meal, family members, in pairs, clang Easter eggs. It’s like a competition where each one hopes to be left with its chosen egg intact.
In the countryside, there’s the custom of scattering the red egg shells in the garden to have a rich harvest.
The most beautiful Easter traditions in Romania. Second Easter Day
There are three Easter Days celebrated in Romania, but only the second Easter Day is a public holiday, when people are off work. Traditionally, these days should be for spending time outdoors, on picnics, barbecuing and also visiting family and friends.
In Transylvania and Bucovina regions, that were under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, there’s a quaint and very popular custom of Watering girls and women. Men and boys prepare water buckets, as it used to be done in the countryside, or perfume bottles, as it is done more frequently nowadays, and go around pouring water or just sprinkling girls and married women as well. This custom is supposed to bring a girl a better chance at marriage, while the women should stay desirable and loving to their husbands. The girls and women getting watered or sprinkled have to offer some red or artfully painted eggs to the guys.
The most beautiful Easter traditions in Romania. Other local customs
There are quite a few other region-specific Easter customs in Romania.
In Tara Motilor, on Easter Eve, some boys take the semantron from from the church and take it to the cemetery where they have to guard it all night. Some other guys are the “thieves” that try to steal the instrument. If they succeed, the first group has to offer a feast on Easter, while if they don’t, it’s the “thieves” who have to provide the food and drink for the feast.
In Calarasi county, people add a live rooster in the food basket they bring for the blessing at Easter Vigil. It has to be a white rooster, especially raised for the occasion. The bird is supposed to announce the Resurrection and he whose rooster sings first will be the luckiest. After the service, the roosters are offered to poor people.
In Bucovina, on Easter Eve, girls are supposed to go up in the belfry and wash the bell clapper with some fresh water, which they should also use to wash their faces on Easter morning. Traditions says that those girls will be sought by boys, like people go running to the church when they hear the bells.
In Maramures, children, up to the age of 9, go around from door to door announcing the Resurrection on Easter morning. They are received by everyone and each is offered a red egg.
In Tara Barsei, around Brasov, there’s a great celebration on one of the Easter Days, called Junii Brasovului. Groups of young men, dressed traditionally, present a parade and afterwards, during a picnic for the whole community, they take part in games and contests like throwing the mace.
In Oltenia, there’s a contest for girls. The most beautiful traditional shirts (“ie”) worn by girls at the church on Easter Day are gathered the next day by the boys in the village and evaluated by some old women, who choose the most beautiful shirt. The one who weaved this shirt is considered an etalon of style and should be the trendsetter in fashion that year.
Credits: ziare.com, ziarulunirea.ro
Photo credits: feminis.ro, patriarhia.ro, bucatarici.ro, alba100.ro, coroana-brasovului.ro, chicroumaine.com