How wonderful it is to be in Romania on March 1st!

and to be a woman of course! March is here and all the markets are full with flowers and “martisoare” (little charms with red& white cords).

If in other years people use to buy charms with chimney sweepers, horseshoes, hearts and clover, nowadays, the handmade little jewelries are trending. Items like kabalah, shamballa bracelets, cute animals, and Murano glass charms, seems to be selling like crazy.

dsc00935  Martisor turcoaz-negru martisor-gargarita-floare-verde-albastru-deschis-5lcjtest-33~46518470images

Tomorrow, 1 st of March as in Romanian tradition, it is the day when women receive from men or sometimes other women  1 “martisor” and why not flowers.

What I especially love is that we will see and smell everywhere fresh spring flowers like tulips, daffodils, snowdrops, freesia, primroses, hyacinths and many more.

cpprimavara-10-1 file

Photo sources:



Christmas in Romania

Check out my Christmas tree for this year and let me tell you few things about Christmas traditions in Romania…

To begin to, you must understand that this holiday is related to Santa Claus, singing carols, and eating of course:)

Like in any other country, we are decorating the Christmas tree, and in the night between 24 and 25th, Santa Claus is coming with gifts. On the other hand, another momentof joy for the kids is the carol singing (they can earn some money for sweets, toys, etc). So everything starts on the evening of 23rd of December when kids are singing a song called “‘Neatalus” (there is no such word in Romania) it’s an old laic song with the same meaning as “‘Buna dimineata la Mos ajun”(Good Morning, Old Cristmas Eve) whish is sang in the morning of 24th.

On the evening of 24 th, the kids go out singing carols, and after the Christmas they go and sing another song, called “‘Steaua'” (The Star”‘). They actually have an object like that and go from home to home to spread the news that Jesus was born. Other songs and traditions: before the new year, boys and men go with “”Plugusorul”‘ and ”Plugul” (the plow), with “‘Capra” (the goat) and with with masks.

The scene is quite scary for the kids, and quite interesting to watch for adults because the masked people come with: whips, firecrackers and bells. Here’s some pictures:

mascati de craciun

It’s important to say that Romanian people have kept a lot of secular traditions which now are integrated alongside with the christian traditions, that’s why the meanings are much deeper and not even us know all the stories. We have a saying that everybody needs an old men to tell all the stories.

Wedding Traditions – before the wedding

Starting April, the wedding season in Romania is ON, and it will end only at the end of October…if not even November. As I haver recently participated at 2 weddings myself, let me tell you about Romanian wedding traditions as they are a lot and quite nice.

So it is said that the future groom has to go and ask for the bride’s hand from her parents, and only after their consent he has to buy the ring and propose to her. In our days, this part is skipped and the groom asks directly the girl. If she says yes, then the next step is to find the future spiritual parents, the Godmother and the Godfather.

The young couple traditionally has to go with some gifts to the future spiritual parents to ask them to assume this role in the wedding. If they accept the gift, then they accept to be Godmother and Godfather.

This step is quite difficult as the Godmother and the Godfather have certain financial obligations to the bride and groom and with the difficult economical situation, some may even turn down this role. So basically they have to buy the wedding candles, to pay for the bride’s veil, “turta”(sort of bride’s cake), the religious service, to bring some guests on their behalf to the wedding and to give a bigger gift at the end of the wedding.

Traditionally they are the Godmother and Godfather of bride/groom’s parents, or other relatives and they used to be older people and also richer:)  Nowadays, usually they are good friends of the young couple, with one condition: they have to be married.

After the spiritual parents are found, then it comes the event planning crap as everywhere I guess. In the next post I will write about the wedding day itself.

May 1st – Going to Seaside Day


Another traditions on May 1st is for the students to go to the seaside and to open basically the Summer Season at the Black Sea.

Not every time is hor and nice, but people just go to have fun as all the clubs are opening, parades and concerts are taking place and of course, only young people are on the seaside theese days:) The preferred mean of transport is the train so if you happen to be in a Romanian train in the May 1st weekend, you should expect  a big fuss.

The most popular resorts in this period are Vama Veche for hippies, rockers, and free spirits, Mamaia for the high class, big money and Costinesti for young and free and money free:))


Barbeque National Day: May 1st

So much for the religious holidays and traditions! Once May 1st arrives, the summer season is on and what more asppropriate way to celebrate than with a barbeque?

 So on this day, all Romanians go to a picnic and make a barbeque with: chicken thighs or wings, pork and of course “mici” (minced meat looking like small kebabs, mostly from pork). They are very popular, cheap and go perfectly with fresh white bread and mustard.

Alongside with the meat, you will also see on the grills champignons, potatoes made in the charcoals, all seasoned with tomatoes and cucumber salad.

Do not miss if you want to see the real Romania on 1 st of May. Unfortunately as everybody wants to sit on the grass and make a fire in the woods, the results are real disasters for the environment so hopefully in the future everything will be better organized.

Easter – the Ceremony

If a Romanian will go to the church, besides his baptism and marriage, it will most probably be on the Resurrection ceremony on Easter night. I don’t know why, but everybody is so atracted by this event. Kids are coming because it’s way beyond their bed time, teenagers are joining and after they go clubbing, old people just believe in God, others meet with friends and family.

Anyway, everybody’s up and out during that night and I always like to think that for a few minutes we take a break from all the daily stress and stupid thoughts and meditate on the important things in life.

The custom is that the ceremony is held outside and at midninght when it starts, after the church bell rings, the priests are coming out with the holly light from Jerusalem. Then, everybody lightens their candles and they have to take this light home. Most of the time it is a big challenge as in April the weather is capricious, just this year we had rains and wind, so we just kept taking the light from other people in the street, or putting the candles under the coats:) to get the mission done.

All the homes and the cemeteries have to have the candles lit on Easter Day.

Here’s some picture from this year we were in Roman, in Moldova region, at a superb diocese in town.


P.S. the 1st picture is an icon that is more than 100 years old, and it was received as wedding gift by the grandmother of my sister in law.

Easter Traditions: Egg Painting

This is the first an most important tradition on Easter in Romania and it is usually performed on Thusrday before Easter. Usually the eggs are red, but people are creative so…

Here’s what we got this year…

At first you have to degrease the eggs, this means basically wash them with some dishwashing detergent. After that, you have to boil them untill they are hard.

The warm eggs are then put into the prepared egg dye. The colors and the instructions are on the pack, so just follow the instructions, then combine the colors as you like.

Gently put the painted eggs on a newspaper to absorb the excess water.

Now we need them to be nice and shiny so just anoint the eggs with bacon or pig lard and they will look like this:

When you’re done, don’t forget to make cross with an egg on your face so you can be healthy and pink in the cheeks all summer.

The Easter Fast

The Easter Fast  is the longest and toughest fast from the Orthodox calendar. It lasts 7 weeks (26 Feb-15 Apr this year) in which the believers and keepers are forbidden to eat meat, dairy or any food that contains animal fats. Besides the alimentary fasting, they also have to behave moraly, repent, stop making sex, go to church, do good deeds.

Why I am writing about this religious custom? It is because this tradition is so big that influences food producers to launch new fast items (soy, vegetable pate, vegetable cheese, vegetable ready meals, sweets etc)  and retail companies to order and fill their shelves with vegetable based products.

Many regular consumed products throughout the year are receiving stickers “de post” (for fast) and are highly promoted. So what Romanians eat these days? A lot of french fries, rice, vegetable stew, vegetable margarine, soy schintzels, beans, cabbage, spinach, eggplant salad, vegetable soups, biscuits salami, jam and more.

Twice in this period, it is allowed to eat fish: on “Buna Vestire” (the Good News, March 25th, when Virgin Mary was announced to be Jesus Mother, by Archangel Gabriel) and also on”Florii” (the entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem a week before his crucification). On these 2 occasions, you will definetely smell fish everywhere in Romania, even if you are in a big city or in the smallest village.

As I think about these traditions, they are of course old, and people let’s say are not so into religion and penitence anymore, but at the end, these small things keep us unite and our history as nation alive. Through small customs like what we eat on a certain date and how we behave, I think all Romanians are connected.

Oh, and i forgot to say how healthy is to fast and how good can the veggies taste:) Check out some nice recipes here.

Spring Traditions 3: Mucenici & 44 shots

After Women’s day on the 8th, we Romanians have other traditions but this time related to men. With religious and laic roots, on March 9th all the Christianity (othodox at least) celebrates the sacrifice of the 40 saints from Sevastia who died for their faith in Jesus. Around 320 a.c., 40 soldiers were captured in order to give up on their Christian faith. As they refused, they were undressd and force to go into a freezing lake. But then, instead of dying they started praying to God who saved them. Unfortunately they were tortured and then burned, so now people make big fires on that day in the memory of the 40 saints.

In Romania, it is a time for the nature getting back to life, for people to be more kind, to give away to the poor. So on March 9th it is settled that women cook some yeast dough in the shape of an eight which they anoint with honey, sugar and grounded nuts. Usually the mucenici are given away to the neighbours or taken to the curch to be given away. The old beliefs says the people who give away will have a good year, but sometimes they are just eaten by the family, as they really taste good. 🙂 Oh, and their name, “mucenici” means “martyrs”, “saints”.

Mucenici moldovenesti (from Moldavian region, north east)


and the full recipe

In the southern regions, they are smaller just like pasta and they are cooked in some soup made with cinnamon, sugar and nuts. I honestly never had the mucenici like this (they look bad), but they are pretty common as well.

Mucenici muntenesti (from Muntenia region, south)

Another tradition most enjoyed by men, is on March 9th to drink 44 glasses of alcohol (some say wine, some say “rachiu”, an alcoholic traditional drink which I will probably present later on my blog). It is said since ancient roman times that who will drink the 44 glasses will be strong for the whole year, as the wine will convert into blood.

Mucenicii and the 44 shots are not the only customs of this day: peasants make big fires to burn down the cold winter and purify the spirits, or they clean and bring out the plows and go to the fields. But then these of course are very old traditions when people actually had plows, not tractors:) It is said that how the weather will be on March 9th, the same will be on Easter day, so the people knock the ground with the beats to bring out the heat and banish the cold weather.

Begining with March 9th, the days of the old men start, Dochia’s days are over and the calendar is turning into good weather as the old men are good and wise.