Spring Traditions 2: Baba Dochia

Baba means “old lady” but it’s just not the same if I say “old lady Dochia”, so here it is: another legend& customs related to the first days of March. As an old popular myth, the first 9 days of spring are considered Dochia’s days and they have a great semnification by region.

The most know tradition is for women to choose one of these days to be theirs (their “baba” it is said) and in that year their soul& character will be as in that specific day. Others think that reflects their happiness and prosperity that year. Also in some parts of Romania, young men choose a day and how the weather will be in that day, the same will be their wife: beautiful, ugly, rich or poor, sweet, fertile, barren etc. Basically everybody wishes their “baba” to be sunny and warm 🙂

There is also a method of calculating each one’s “baba” taken into account the date of birth: for example if you are born on 13, your day will be 4 (1+3+4), or if if your birthdate is on 29th, then your baba will be on March the 2nd (2+9=11, 1+1=2). Anyway, you can also choose, it’s not that strict.

But what is the real legend? Well, as with all the legends, nobody knows for sure, so we have more stories…

One of the most common, Baba Dochia an old and tough lady sheperd makes a bet with the Cold and the Snow that she can beat them. So she takes 9 coats in order to succeed in climbing a mountain with her sheep flock. But the weather is at first warm and she each day takes off one coat untill the 9th when it’s freezing and snows a lot so she dies. So the 9 days represent a very dangerous period in the popular superstitions, people even had a day off in the old times celebrating the spring and trying not to upset the cold, to have good weather for the agriculture that year and Dochia to protect them and their animals.

Others say that Dochia was the beautiful daughter of king Decebal himself and after Traian conquered Dacia, he fell in love with the girl and wanted to marry her, to give an example of blending Dachs and Romans. But the girl was very proud and insulted by the Roman king, so she runaway in the mountains where she turned into stone along with her sheep. You can even see the stone of course, on magic mountain of Moldavia, Ceahlau.

Another story shows Dochia as the Mother of Dragobete who married without her consent with a girl. Angry Dochia gave the daughter in law some black wool and sent her to the river to wash it untill it will come white. The girl washed the wool untill her hands were bleeding but still she couldn’t make the wool white. Then she started crying and Jesus came to her and gave her a red magical flower to use. the flower made teh wool white, but still, Dochia was unhappy and blamed the girl she was cheating her son with “Martisor” (she called Jesus like this as she didn’t know who he was). Anyway seeing the red flower, Dochia considered the time was right for the transhumance, so she went to the Ceahlau mountain with her flock, but again the weather was changing and she died frozen.

pictures from this beautiful mountain here

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