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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
As this is a National Holiday aka day off for everyone, what could the people do? I can tell you what me and another few thousands people from Bucharest did: went to Mogosoaia, a nice palace located just near the capital.
It was picnic day organized by the city hall, 32 degrees Celsius outside, so it was crazy! I really liked thefolkloric dances and singing performed by local artists on the stage in the courtyard of the palace.
By the way, the construction is beautiful in a special Romanian architectural style called “brancovenesc” (or Romanian renaissance) after Cruler of Romanian Country, Constantin Brancoveanu who had build it in 1702. The palace had been destroyed or damaged several times, occupied by revolutionaries in 1821 or nationalised by the comunists in the ’50s, but now has been restored and it represents a touristic attraction for Bucharest. Now the authorities are working on the lawns and the huge park around.
The statues above with no heads are representing the Brancoveanu family which has been decapitated by the sultan of the Otoman Empire for treason. The Romanian Principates used to be under Otoman occupation between the XV and XIX th centuries.
Below, some pictures of the people doing barbecues, playing sports, or just enjoying a great day out. You can also see the big line on the grilled steaks and “mici”
Appetizers..natural and traditional…work well together and look great. This is what you will probably see on every Easter table in Romania.
So..it’s fresh cheese, cucumbers, radishes, dyied eggs, meatballs, some lamb meat specialty we call “”drob”‘, olives, cherry tomatoes and roes home made.
As dessert we have a special baked cake, a sort of Italian panettone, only it’s Romanian.
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:))
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.