If you are still wondering whether to visit Romania or not, I would definitely give you more than enough reasons in this blog post to book a full trip asap!
I mean… Just look how beautiful my country looks when she’s all dressed in white!
And if you are still wondering when it’s the best time to do it, my advice would be: late Autumn and Winter! This is the best time to do it simply because at this time of the year we have the best traditions! Remember my previous post on my beautiful Romania and St. Andrew’s celebrations? – if not you can still read it here – take that and multiply it by 100. That’s a little closer to what Christmas and New Year means to us Romanian.
I still have to refer to our ancestors and be grateful to them for everything that happens around this time of the year in our Romania. I know that we’re not the first to sing Christmas carols ( the first known Christmas hymns may be traced to fourth century Rome, read more here ), but we sure have some of the best on the entire Earth! So soothing and calming… And merry and joyful at the same time! Joyful would be the right word to describe them!
This one is by far my favourite:
Here in Romania, mostly children go carolling since they’re believed to be the purest amongst us and their voices reach God’s ears easier…
Here they are…
– children singing Christmas songs in church, on Christmas day
They sing about the birth of our Jesus and they thank God for sending His Son to save our souls! In exchange they receive hot drinks, pretzels, fruits and nuts and sometimes money.
It is also said the the house that doesn’t receive them isn’t blessed for the following year! It is also said that if you’re a young family and you want children, the first Christmas carols singers you receive will help you determine the gender of your next child.
From our Christmas dinner there can’t be absent what we call “turte”. It’s a traditional sweet made out of thin cooked dough leaves ( cooked on a traditional hot owen taste the best ), softened in sweet warm water which contains honey or sugar and that they’re layered carefully on a plate. Between the layers there’s a whole lot of grounded nuts and it tastes delicious! Nothing too difficult, a simple sweet with a lot of meaning, since our “turte” represent the sheets/napkins our Baby Jesus was wrapped in when He was born.
And since we’ve touched the topic Food, take a look at our winter specialties…
… home made bread, which smells divine…
… and so many goodies all home made, with fresh ingredients!
And this is what I put on my table this winter, made by yours truly!
Leaving Christmas behind the next best thing in winter is the New Year’s Eve!… And not only because it’s my birthday! Haha! That too, but around this time of the year we have other beautiful traditions as well!
In certain areas of the country, you can find actual rituals of passing… for the old year, of course! These are supposed to make way for the birth of the new year! Again, there’s lots of singing and dancing involved containing happy lyrics but also incantations, for well-being , prosperity, happiness and protection from evil and its deeds.
Two traditional dances are important now, especially in my region, Moldavia – the Dance of the Goat and the Dance of the Bear.
Here you have the Dance of the Goat
Why the goat? Because our ancestors believed that the goat was the animal able to tell whether they’ll have good weather or bad weather. Of course, this wasn’t the actual occult, empiric meaning of it! Back in the day, everything had to do with the ritual of the dead… Well especially the undead I was telling you about in my St. Andrew’s blog post! Our ancestors were wearing masks ( of goats, bears, horses, etc. ) to protect themselves from evil spirits! Nowadays we kept this tradition alive without necessarily believe in its meaning… But it sure is a spectacle to look at every time!
Also, in our pre-Christian culture the bear was a sacred animal… So sacred that even the god of our Geto-Dacians ancestors wore its name: Zamolxis ( zamo = skin, olxis = bear ). So the bear was a totemic animal, feared and equally appreciated in our ancient culture! Same as the wolf!
The bear, more than any other animal is the main character of so many legends… He was supposed to hold the pillars of the Universe on its shoulders… Our version of Atlas, the Titan that did the same – if you like. The two constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the same as in the Greek mythology, they’re linked to the ritual of passing and the transformation of the soul in the afterlife in our culture as well.
The Dance of the Bear has the meaning of the death and the rebirth of Nature, its whole choreography and the lyrics of the song that accompanies the dance express just that.
Also, by extension, it is believed that when the bear comes out of its hibernation spring will come without a doubt.
It is a lovely show to look at!
Good food, entertainment, beautiful places to see, the most warm, welcoming and funny people to spend some quality time with… What else can you ask for?!
So next year I’m expecting you here, in Romania to celebrate winter holidays together, Romanian style!
I hope you’ll enjoy this post, which is different from what I have you used with! Please feel free to comment and to let me know what are your favourite winter tradition of your country…
See you soon, Beautiful!
And some more pictures of my beautiful country, in winter time…
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