December 22, 2014

Christmas in Romania


                 Craciun Fericit , La Multi Ani!                                           

                 Merry Christmas!                             

                                     
☃Christmas GiF☃Christmas is a major annual celebration in Romania, full of significance and traditions. Romanians, who are predominantly Orthodox, celebrate Jesus Christ's birth. Introduced once with the Christianization of Romania, the observance of Christmas was interrupted during the Communist period (1948—1989), as concepts as religion, Jesus Christ or the Church were banned. Instead of being visited by Santa Claus children received gifts under the fir tree from Old Man Frost/ Mos Gerila.

In fact, the whole month of  December is a festive period for Romanians. Celebrations start already on 30th November, St. Andrew’s day. On 1st December is Romania’s National Day. On 5th December, in the evening, children wait for the arrival of St. Nicholas/Mos Nicolae who leaves gifts in their shining boots. 6th December is St. Nicholas's day. Winter festivities end on January 7, with the celebration of Saint John.  

Christmas celebration proper starts on 24th December in the morning. By that time the Christmas tree that people buy from the markets must be already decorated. It is the day children usually start caroling their neighbors till late evening. Music plays an important part of Christmas festivities all over Romania. This music is related to Christmas carols. The songs are named colindă. Some people say that certain elements of the carols performed around Christmas have their roots in the Roman Saturnalia and pagan rituals related to the winter solstice and soil fertility. There are areas in the country where children or even grown-ups go caroling till New Year.

On 24th December women cook the traditional foods for Christmas dinner. Pork is traditional meat in Christmas various delicacies. 20th December,the day the pigs are sacrificed is called Ignat day, Saint Ignatius Day. There is a tradition that asks the housewives to prepare and share from the meat of the sacrificed animal that very same day.

On Christmas morning people go to church for the religious service, and then they return home to wait for the carol singers. All family will be present at the Christmas dinner and taste the delicious traditional sarmale/ minced meat rolled in pickled cabbage leaves/, carnati/ spiced sausages, cozonaci//sponge cake/ and placinte/pies.( You can see a plate with sarmale and some cozonac in the images)

Women called Cristina/Cristiana and men called Cristian celebrate their name day on 25th December.

Christmas traditions in villages

- pigs must be sacrificed on 20th December. Starting from that day on, pigs that are still alive will no longer gain weight; tradition says the animals dreamed about the sacrificing knives during the  night.

- crumbs from the first cozonac are thrown to poultry or cattle, to protect them from getting ill,

- no washing of dishes on this day. Plates and casseroles are washed on the next day and the water is sprinkled where animals are kept,
cowhouses, stables.

-people say that if Christmas day is a warm one, Easter will be cold and the other way round,

- nobody must sweep the floors and take the garbage out of the house until the following day,

- no chicken meat is eaten during Christmas days as doing it will attract all kind of misfortunes on the family.

  It goes without saying that children are most anxious for Christmas and Santa Claus - Mos Craciun who will bring them beautiful gifts – sweets, toys and books. They will recite poems and sing songs for Santa Claus.

At the beginning of December the Christmas lights are turned on all over the streets in all cities. All shops and stores display nicely arranged  shop windows attracting customers with tempting offers and sales.
                               http://www.animated-gifs.eu/christmas-new-year/0005.gif


20 comments:

  1. What a lovely post, Carmen. It's so interesting to learn how Christmas is celebrated in other countries. I loved your look into all your country's traditions, past and present!

    The years from 1948 to 1989 must have been very hard. So glad you enjoy the freedom now to celebrate as you wish. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Yes, it wasn’t easy before 89. But you know what is interesting? In those times we all celebrated Christmas, even if only secretly. And like any forbidden thing it was better! Now that there’s no barrier, things changed. All has become an aggressively commercial thing. In cities. Tradition is still kept in rural areas, especially those farther from towns. Anyway, I wouldn’t like those times to come back. Thank you for visiting my page!

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  2. What a beautiful post! I feel just as if I've visited for a Romanian Christmas celebration. Thanks for sharing with us!

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    1. There are many, many more traditions but I couldn't have captured them all in one post. I'm glad you caught a glimpse of how we celebrate Christmas around here. Merry Christmas Laura and A Happy New Year!
      I thank you for being part of my life!

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  3. Lovely post! Wishing you and your family the happiest of holiday time followed a a year filled with days of laughter and nights of peace. Love, Paulette & Terry, Max, Bella, & Lady

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    1. The same best wishes to you and Terry and the four legged family Max, Bella and Lady!

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  4. What a lovely post, Romania certainly has some wonderful Christmas traditions.

    Regards

    Margaret

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    1. Christmas traditions are even different from one part of the country to another. A rich palette, colorful and full of love sharing feelings.
      Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment! All my best wishes to you and yours!

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  5. Oh, Carmen, this is a wonderful post, chock full of information and heart felt passion for the celebrations. I have shared it everywhere. I didn't know children had to receive from Old Man Frost for a time. That reminds me of the Grinch tales over here. The colinda must be glorious. I love that about the name day and especially the folklore, such as not sweeping. I remember reading about that somewhere. We don't want to sweep out our good fortune. Thank for a lovely post, and please enjoy every moment of your Christmas festivities!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Flossie! Yes, Santa Claus was banned during communist epoch around here. As was everything linked to religion. You are right, it was the communist Grinch that stole the children's joy. Now it's back in full swing. I mentioned only a few of the striking folklore habits that are still to be found in rural Romania.
      Thank you for the wishes and I wish you the same! Thank you for being my cyber friend!

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    2. I love your posts. Thank you as well.
      Merry Christmas!

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    3. I love yours too!
      Warm friendly hugs!

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  6. Carmen this post is very interesting. I know now we have similarities in the way we celebrate Christmas in Greece. We are Orthodox, too. The only difference is that we call our Santa, Saint Basil.
    Somehow, not only for Christmas but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you.
    Wishing you from the bottom of my heart, a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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    1. Thank you so much for visiting, Elina!
      I had no idea Santa is Saint Basil in Greece. Yes, I imagine much of the rest of rituals must be somehow similar
      The same wishes to you and family, dear friend!

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  7. Your traditions sound lovely, Carmen. Too bad Christmas has become so commercialized, but if Romania is like the US, December is the best month for retailers, so they promote like crazy.

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  8. Thanks for stopping by! I really appreciate it.
    Yes, they do it here too. It happens on each event, celebration. One can't blame them after all.
    Wishing you A merry Christmas and all the best for 2015, Linda!

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  9. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this, Carmen. It's very different from our Christmas celebrations in Australia. I hope you have a prosperous and love-filled year in 2015. I can't wait to see what the year holds for us all.

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    1. Thank you, dear Susan for stopping by and reading the post!
      For the lovely wishes and for being my friend!
      Hopefully 2015 will be a better year for you and me and our families!
      Happy writing and reading!

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  10. What a wonderful post, Carmen! Thank you for sharing your country's traditions with us. I enjoyed it very much. It sounds beautiful. :)

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    1. Thank you, Calisa, for visiting my blog! I really appreciate it. Yes, there are things that differ from continent to continent, country to country even from one part of the country to another. Hopefully people here will keep their traditions, give them on to the younger generations otherwise the beauty of this special celebration, Christmas, is lost.

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