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.