romanian christmas customs

Actually, in Bucharest and in other big cities they start long before that, as they try to go to as many houses as possible. The process should take around 20 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth without being sticky. Although in places like Bucharest, poor children sometimes board trams and buses and sing in the hope that passengers will spare some change.. 2.

Christmas was not only poor -- it was virtually banned, says Tomiuc. Each year, on Ignat Day (St. Ignatius), on December 20th, Romanian families throughout the countryside sacrifice their pigs in order to have a rich meal for Christmas. (Dont do this too early because the egg will dry and crack in the heat of the oven.) People light candles at a cemetery in Timisoara for victims of the Romanian revolution of December 1989. It all starts early in the morning with the killing itself and continues with a series of proceedings through which all the meat is carefully prepared.

You can also cook them in a clay pot, boiling them on the lowest heat for at least 2 hours. (If you decide to make them on the stove top, put a lid over the pot to prevent it from bubbling over.). Do the same with the other two, so that you end up with two plaited pastry rolls. A whole feast, the multi-course meal includes the entries, mainly the tob, caltabo, piftie prepared after the pig slaughter, followed by a soup, a main course and a dessert. In the morning, the most obedient of them will discover lots of little surprises, mostly sweets, tucked into their shoes, while the naughty ones will only find the symbolic rod. 3.

The most beautiful Christmas markets in Romania can be found in the medieval cities of Transylvania, including Sibiu, Brasov, and Cluj, but Bucharest Christmas Fair is worth checking out, too. Whether religious songs, pure folklore, or theatrical performances,Romanian Christmas carols are especially wonderful and full of meaning. When the dough is ready, turn it on a surface lightly greased with oil and spread it in the shape of a rectangle that is about 1.25 centimeters thick. Another dish that is found on almost any family of Romanians on Christmas day is sarmale. Christmas dinner is a rich, multi-course meal, with highlights including roasted pork, pickled vegetables, the delicious boeuf salad, and lots of homemade wine to wash it all down. Romania is well known for its rich folklore and unique customs, and Christmas is no exception. This is a relatively recent development, however, dating back only to the formation of a new Romanian state after the end of World War I. Christmas trees were available, but they were called winter trees. Likewise, Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, was turned by the communists into a Russian import -- Father Frost. Bitterly joking, some would say on the 25th, Ive got no present, because I was visited by Father Frost, not by Father Christmas!, Still, people would celebrate Christmas privately, he adds. The period leading up to Christmas is filled with wonderful celebrations, including Romanias National Day (December 1st) and Saint Nicholas (Mos Nicolae), when all children receive gifts. The cozonac (a sweet bread usually made with cocoa and nuts) is the most popular. The houses are often decorated with mistletoe, a sign of good luck and wealth. The pig is the undisputed king of the Christmas dinner, says Tomiuc, and it provides many households with meters of sausages, raw and smoked, blood puddings, bucketfuls of melted fat that are used to preserve fried pork chops for months, and strips of seared pork skin called sorici, which are a sought-after snack in Romania.. 8.

One of the most popular Christmas traditions is caroling. The ritual presents the bears death and rebirth, which symbolizes the New Year that is about to come. They usually come together with rituals, special costumes and tools, as well as peculiar theatrical performances, generating a genuine spectacle. mythology romanian plow customs romanians traditions rituals holidays winter imperialtransilvania Some like to eat sarmale with sour cream and hot pepper or garlic. While this time the lyrics are spoken and not sung, the aim is to wish the listeners a fruitful year. 4. 50 g of fresh yeast (or 14 grams of dry yeast), 100 ml of cooking oil and 100 g of melted butter (or 150 ml of oil), 3 sachets of vanilla sugar or two teaspoons of vanilla extract (or the core of a vanilla pod). Traditionally, carolers have bells, whips, and drums and make noise to dispel the evil spirits.

In the countryside, the caroling tradition comes in different forms. In the big cities, it is more rare to see colindatori, says Tomiuc. The letter is left near the window, so Santa can take it and prepare the requested presents. The Orthodox Romanian kingdom and Bessarabia -- under Russian occupation since 1812 -- celebrated Christmas according to the Julian calendar, some 14 days later than the religiously mixed Transylvania and Bukovina, which were both under Hapsburg rule and used the Gregorian calendar because Orthodox Christianity was not the official religion..

Romanian children take part in the traditional colindatul on Christmas Day.

Your email address will not be published. The celebrations continue until the New Year, when the Pluguorul is performed, part of the carolling tradition. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 2022 RFE/RL, Inc. All Rights Reserved. These are just a few of some of the most popular Christmas traditions in Romania, but the real spectacle takes place in the countryside, where folklore comes to life as each region showcases its own distinctive old customs and traditions passed down from generation to generation a truly authentic experience for anyone visiting my country during the winter holidays. Dont add another batch of the fatty mixture until the previous one has been fully incorporated. Then add 2 tablespoons of tomato puree and let the mixture simmer, adding a bit of water from time to time. "After six weeks, the salty water has turned into a sour and flavory elixir that is fizzy and some say it has the same taste as dry wine.

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For several decades, however, Romanians didnt actually officially celebrate Christmas on any day at all, because it was effectively prohibited by the atheist communist government.


Like many other places, Romanias tradition of carol singing is much more widely observed in the countryside nowadays. If carols might be popular in other countries as well, Romanians have other peculiar rituals. Many people in Romania cook Christmas dishes on Christmas Eve (in cities, many also go shopping during this day). Some of them also wear costumes and masks symbolizing diverse animals such as bears, goats, and horses, which represent the evil forces. Pig slaughtering is another Christmas tradition in Romania.

But without any pomp, since there were no days off for the festival.. According to the Orthodox religion, during the Christmas Fast people should not eat meat or animal products, as part of a process of body purifying. Please try again.

The Christmas celebration starts on Christmas Eve (Ajunul Crciunului), December 24, when people decorate the Christmas tree using tingles, Christmas globes, candies, handmade decorations, and small coloured lights while singing Christmas carols. Then cover with baking paper and reduce the heat to 170 degrees Celsius.

Young people perform the Capra or Ursul, a theatrical show, dressing up like goats or with multicoloured costumes or wearing a bear-like coat, singing and dancing in the streets. The next moment marking the Christmas celebrations is the Ignat, or Saint Ignatius Day, when the long-lasting Christmas tradition of the pig slaughter is carried out. Mix well with your hands. On Saint Nicholas Eve, all Romanian children clean their boots, place them at the door (or window), and go to sleep waiting for Mos Nicolae to fill them with presents. 28263. Romanians are religious people and they usually practice fasting throughout the year (Mondays and Fridays) by abstaining from eating animal products. Often accompanied by wishes for health, prosperity, and fulfillment, Romanian carols are far from being just simple Christmas songs. Start typing to see results or hit ESC to close, Why October Is the Best Month to Visit Tuscany, How To Experience Vienna Without Breaking The Bank. Prepare the egg wash by mixing the egg yolk with the milk and a little salt, before using this to brush the cozonac pastry plaits just before baking. All the more important is the Nativity Fast, which runs from November 14th to December 24th. The Romanian Christmas pig provides a variety of victuals for the seasonal table.

Penury was the only plentiful thing, along with cold and darkness during the last 10 years of communism, says Tomiuc. Preparation begins with pig slaughtering when a good part of the animal is turned into smoked ham, bacon, sausages, liver sausage, pigs trotter, and other bizarre and delicious Romanian dishes, whose names are sometimes hard to translate. (Make sure you dont roll them too tightly!) 2. To make the fluffy cake batter, beat 4 whole eggs in a food processor.

In the evening, the tradition goes that the garbage must not be thrown out, to avoid grievances and damages, the chimneys are cleaned and the ash is thrown on the vineyard, to ensure a bountiful harvest in the year to come. With oily hands, shape the dough into a ball and let it rest well covered with plastic in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes. Never missing from the table is uic, the traditional Romanian drink. Serve the sarmale warm with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and generous helpings of fresh, Romanian-style mamaliga. Eugen Tomiuc is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL. Work on the dough manually, stretching and kneading it, before covering it with plastic and letting it rest for 10 minutes. Foods allowed during fasting are plenty and tasty, with traditional recipes that would leave any vegetarian with a watering mouth, says Tomiuc. Beginning on the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch four days earlier, its also customary for no laundry to be done and no wool to be spun until the feast of the Epiphany on January 6. Strict adherents to tradition eat a meal of boiled wheat grains sweetened with honey and garnished with some seeds and fruit on Christmas Eve, which is known as Ajunul Craciunului in Romanian, deriving from the Romanian word ajun, meaning fasting., Although, strictly speaking, religious Romanians officially have their main Christmas celebrations on December 25-27, Christmas Eve is also hugely important and is associated with a number of customs.

Sprinkle with a little flour and set it aside to let it rise (10 minutes). Your email address will not be published. The Gregorian calendarwas introduced in Romania in 1919 after the formation of Greater Romania through the unification of Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina with the Romanian kingdom, says Romanian-born journalist Eugen Tomiuc from RFE/RLs Central Newsroom. Stretch the 4 balls of dough into flat, rectangular layers (about 40 cm x 25 cm). On December 25 and 26, the whole family gathers to open Santas presents left under the tree and to celebrate together around the Christmas table. Carol singers constantly knocking at the door and colorful decorations throughout add a cheerful festive touch to the scene. Add the smoked bacon/pork leg, the sprigs of thyme, and whatever is left of the cabbage. Carolers usually expect small food and beverage goodies, such as fruits, nuts, cookies, or glasses of wine for adult carolers, in exchange for their performances. All rights reserved. christmas tree romanian fiasco

This is usually made of cabbage leaves rolled around a filling usually based onminced meat. 2. The Christmas Eve is on December 24.

3. Roll each piece in this sugar to ensure that they dont stick together. There is an impressive tradition that is mainly kept in Moldova and Bucovina regions, called the Bears Dance. We look at some of these ancient customs and also share recipes for two traditional Romanian specialties that are an integral part of the annual Christmas feast. "It's a lot of work , but it is hugely rewarding," he says. These porcine Yuletide delights include roast gammon and pork chops, but nowhere is the pigs meat more tasty than in whats widely accepted as Romanias national dish, says Tomiuc: sarmale.. In the villages, they go from house to house and each family rewards them with homemade cakes, fruits, and sometimes money. You should leave them to cool slowly and completely for 2 to 3 hours before they are ready to eat. And, even on those days when meat, milk, cheese, and eggs are off the menu, there is still a lot of culinary variety. Even the humble potato can be boiled or baked and seasoned with zeama de varza, the pickled Romanian cabbage juice that Tomiuc describes as an intricate Romanian delicacy, which is synonymous with the Christmas season. Romania is a land of many more traditions than youd normally expect from some lesser-known Eastern European country, and Christmas is no exception. To make the filling, cut the Turkish delight into chunks using a wooden board powdered with plenty of castor sugar. Like their Bulgarian neighbors, Romanians are unusual in that they celebrate Christmas Day on December 25 despite mostly being adherents of Orthodox Christianity, which normally observes this festival two weeks later. If you live in a block of flats, chances are carolers have already visited you. From cheerful groups of children singing carols from door to door to mouthwatering dishes and various odd habits, the homeland of Dracula is kind of a truly amazing place to spend Christmas. This period of abstinence reaches its conclusion the day before Christmas on December 24 with post negru, a so-called dark fast where not even water is allowed. 5. romania romanian christmas folk almanac beh llc

Naturally, the pork from the pig is also the basis for many delicious dishes on Christmas Day, when the fast ends and "the levee finally breaks," as Tomiuc puts it. Interestingly, Romanians still celebrate Easter according to the Orthodox tradition, but Christmas is now observed at the same time as their Western counterparts, something that is not without a certain political resonance, according to Tomiuc. Impressive Christmas traditions in Romania: the Bears dance, the Goat, the Star, and drumming bands, Winter holidays and Christmas traditions in Romania: the Bear dance, the Masked carolers and the Goat, Irina Marica,

If there are any cabbage leaves left over, you can also cut them into strips and put them between the rolls. The latter are usually to be found in villages, but you might see some street performances in cities as well, including in Bucharest.In villages, masked carolers come on New Year's Eve or on the first day of the new year. Usually, the carol singing becomes an increasingly vocal and merry affair, says Tomiuc, because, more often than not, the hosts tempt the adult carolers with homemade wine, which is frequently mulled, and tuica fiarta, a flavorsome plum brandy boiled with a little honey or ground pepper. Cut each large leaf in half, removing the tough spiny part to make it easier to roll. Besides producing pickled cabbage, the juice the process produces (zeama de varza) is an ingredient assiduously sought after not only by cooks to use in soups and in sarmale, but also by partygoers as an incredibly effective 'morning after' cure.". After each maneuver, the dough needs 10 minutes of rest, so cover the balls with plastic wrap and leave them for a while. Romanias Painted Easter Eggs Art and Tradition, The Best and Worst Things About Christmas My Perspective on the Season, How to Spend a Magical Holiday in Budapest in Winter, How to Have Fun in Los Angeles in December 10 Amazing Things to Do, Best European Cities to Visit in December, Christmas Traditions in America and How They All Started, 2 Weeks in Europe 10 Excellent Itinerary Ideas, 14 Spectacular Stops on the LA to San Francisco Drive, How to Dress Like a European The Ultimate Packing List for Europe, One Day in L.A. How to See the Best of Los Angeles in a Day, How to See Los Angeles in 3 Days the Perfect Itinerary. Your email address will not be published. (P) Mintia Thermal Power Plant, a national asset with a history of over 50 years, to be sold at public auction, Romanias Timisoara gets access to European waterways through renewed Bega canal, Scandal emerges as Romania is stuck with some 40 mln Covid-19 vaccine doses it has to buy, Solidarity with Ukraine: How you can help refugees coming to Romania & where to donate. 7.

Some of these customs and traditions are old, unusual, and authentic; others borrowed from overseas, but, together, they put Romania in a festive mood, offering it a unique identity and a special charm during the winter holidays.

The latter is a relatively new practice in Romania but has enjoyed resounding success, becoming an important part of Christmas. From the fat melting to the preparation of sausages, one thing is for sure Romanians really know how to cook every bit of the poor animal. According to the Orthodox religion, during these 40 days preceding Christmas, nobody is allowed to eat meat, eggs, or milk, with few exceptions when fish is permitted (St Ignatius). The plate is served outside, after the traces of the pork sacrifice have been cleaned. 2022 City Compass Media and/or its affiliated companies. Many of the songs are about the star that presaged Jesuss birth, so the carolers often carry an ornate, handcrafted star fixed on a pole to signify this as they wander the streets, a custom known as a merge cu Steaua, or walking with the Star.. If theres something never missing from a traditional feast that is sarmale, sauerkraut or cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and meat. Coilin O'Connor is a web producer in the Central Newsroom of RFE/RL in Prague. For dessert, homemade prepared cakes are served, including the delicious Cozonac, a cake filled with cocoa, nuts, or Turkish delight, similar to the Italian panettone. The familys pigs are sacrificed and their meat is used to prepare traditional specialities like tob, caltabo, piftie and homemade sausages.

3. Travel Notes & Beyond. After that, its time to add the oil-and-butter mix, by kneading it into the dough in three or four batches. Meanwhile, the traditional tuica (or palinca in some regions) is the Romanians favorite alcoholic drink on Christmas.

In a way, he says, celebrating Christmas on December 25 marked both a further step toward the West for Romania as well as a fresh symbol of reunification.. It sounds cruel, I know, and it actually is, but behind this horror, theres a very complex ceremony that has been part of the local customs for as long as history can record. December 20 is also the day on which Romanians are traditionally supposed to kill the Christmas pig to get started on preparing the numerous pork-based dishes that are the star attraction once the main seasonal feast finally gets under way on December 25. Our food rations were half a liter of cooking oil per person per month; five eggs; 1 kilo of sugar; 1 kilo of flour/half a loaf of bread.

There is the simple caroling, which involves only people singing, and there are special carols, which include special costumes and masks, dancing and more complex performances. Some of the most popular areSteaua (the Star boys singing procession), Capra (The Goat), andPlugusorul.

Pig slaughter is not actually the kind of national custom that one might be proud of, but its a long-lasting Christmas tradition that Romania keeps stubbornly.

Bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes. During Christmas, Romanians also bake or buy various special dishes, including desserts and sweets. Business Insider SRL is a carrier of data with personal character, registered in the Registrul de Evidenta a Prelucrarilor de Date cu Caracter Personal with the no. Food is probably the main part of any holiday in Romania, but Christmas is a true feast for the senses.

Although this means the country is swamped by the same consumerism as many other places, it also means people are free to observe their sacred traditions., Typically for Orthodox Christians, these traditions are supposed to include a pre-Christmas fast of 40 days (Postul Craciunului), but Tomiuc says the rules are rather permissive, with many days when eating fish, oil, and even wine is allowed..

Required fields are marked *. Meat? We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. Similar to many Middle Eastern dishes of stuffed vine leaves, sarmale are a uniquely Romanian version of the concept, comprising pickled cabbage leaves filled with a mixture of minced pork and beef. One of the most famous things associated with the festivities is the so-called colindatul, or carol singing. We cant find a country that matches your search. This time of year really is a chance for any family member to recharge their batteries and to create memories that will keep them warm throughout the year to come. Divide it into four equal pieces, shaping each one into a ball and placing it on the work surface lightly greased with oil. Other old traditions that are often meticulously observed in rural areas include sweeping your floors inwards on December 24, from the door to the middle of the room, so any luck will not have a chance to escape.

Roll the layers in on the mixture to make four long pieces of filled pastry. In Romania children and adults alike go caroling on Christmas Eve. The Romanian families who still keep the tradition usually slaughter the pig on December 20, the Ignat Day. Roll the meat up in the leaves nice and tight until all of it is gone. If presents cannot be missed from Christmas, theres much more to it in Romania.

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I will always remember two things, says Tomiuc. However, during Christmas, most Romanian houses are filled with neighbors, friends, relatives, and goodwill a pleasant, comfortable jamboree where everyone giggles, dances, cooks, and tells stories. You can either bake them plain or sprinkle them with a little castor sugar and walnut pieces for an extra flourish. You can stack the rolls between layers of chopped cabbage, which adds flavor and helps prevent the sarmale from sticking together.

It is widely eaten on various holidays in Romania but is associated mainly with the end-of-year festivities, where it is usually the centerpiece of everyones Christmas table. Chop the onion and saute it for a couple of minutes in hot cooking oil before adding the rice. Fill the pot with a half-and-half mixture of water and sour-cabbage juice (zeama de varza) until the rolls are almost covered. 4. 7. The Capra and Ursulperformers can be accompanied by a band of dubai, a drumming band of unmarried men. So, lets see what to expect from a Christmas vacation in Romania.

2. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Another favorite for fasting days is ciorba de fasole, a nourishing white bean soup that is usually flavored with lovage in southern Romania or tarragon in Transylvania. You can chop the remainder of the cabbage into rough pieces, which will be used later when cooking the meal.

Remove the cozonaci from the oven after 45 minutes. On Christmas Eves evening, cheerful groups of children and young people get out in the streets to sing Christmas carols, telling the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, accompanied by wishes of health, good luck and love. Add the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to 100 milliliters of warm milk. Christmas In Romania: A Once 'Tattered Celebration' That Has Retaken Its Place In The National Psyche, Christmas lights and decorations adorn the Alexandru Ioan Cuza fountain in front of Romania's Palace of the Parliament in downtown Bucharest.

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