So, the winter holidays season has finally ended, all the cabbage rolls have been eaten along with all salads du beouf, the dances of the masked spirits marked their way into the new year, and now everyone has entered their routine. This begs the question: is there anything else that happens in Romania after the winter holiday season? Is there anything else Romanians do or look forward to? The thing is, at least until the winter season itself has ended, there are plenty of things that are celebrated in Romania, so let us tell you about some of them.
1. Saint Peter’s wolves
Similar to Saint Andrews, the wolves’ apostle we told you about in our last article about the Romanian Halloween, Saint Peter is celebrated on the 16th of January, on the month of Frosty (January’s folk name), being a tradition transmitted from generation to generation.
The elders say that this is the day when Saint Peter is the “patronus” of the wolves, when all of them gather in packs, howling. It is said that this is when Saint Peter comes and shares pray to the wolves for an entire year, at midnight, riding a white horse. The pray consists of a sheep or a deer, the wolves “agreeing” to only touch said pray, while leaving the humans be.
The folk stories depict him as both an earthly and a divine being. He walks the earth alone, but sometimes accompanying God when checking how the humans are doing.
2. The small Union – the Union between Romanian Principalities
158 years ago, on the 24th of January 1859, a great deed was accomplished, one that stood at the base of what now we know as modern day Romania. Romanians remember with great pride the day of the Unification of the Romanian Principalities.
The Union of Wallachia with Moldavia that happened on the 24th is the political act that stays at the base of modern day Romania and the overall forming of the Romanian nation. The historical circumstances of those times didn’t allow the union of all three Romanian countries (Moldova, Wallachia and Transylvania), but it was the jumpstart to a gradual formation of the Romanian state, starting with the small Union in 1859, and ending with the Grand Union back in 1918 when the fight for the freedom of the Romanian people will be victorious.
Recently, the Romanian Government even passed a law that declared the day of 24th of January to be a free one from work, given the great importance in the history of the country that needs to be cherished as such.
3. Saint Valentine
Known as the lover’s day, Saint Valentine is celebrated in Romania as well, on the 14th of February, so if you want to spend your Valentine’s day with a touch of Romanian scent you can come over. Although this celebration has its roots in English culture, where young lovers take their partner out on a date, you’ll discover another facet here: elders say that this is the day known also as the day in which the birds choose their partners. It is well known as “the day of bird’s matrimony”. Maybe this is where the “lovebirds” saying stems from? It sure seems like a plausible thought.
Tradition here says that the first bird a girl will see it will foretell her the kind of man she’ll later marry. If it will be a blackbird, she’ll marry a priest, yellow feathered birds will bring her a rich man, while sparrow will bring forth a farmer. The blue feathered birds will be the ones foretelling her a marriage with a joyous man, while the dove a loving man. However, if she were to see a woodpecker, no marriage for her.
4. The “Dragobete”
Being the magical personification of love itself, the Dragobete is celebrated on the 24th of February, being considered the God of youthfulness and joy. This day is considered among Romanians as the old “lover’s day”, a more “authentic one” than Saint Valentine, given its inheritance, being passed down from generation to generation ever since the older days of the mighty Dacians.
Traditions here say that in the morning of Dragobete, girls would gather around fresh snow and wash their hair with the water that came from the snow, saying that their hair will get more beautiful.
Also on Dragobete you’ll hear around people saying “Dragobetele kisses the girls!”.
Besides that, if the weather permits it, girls and boys would wear traditional clothing and walked together along the woods singing and picking the first flowers of spring.
Other times they’d meet at a house where everything would turn into a big party, celebrating love and cheerfulness.