Christmas in Romania is unique. Ancient times customs are piously kept at the countryside. There are more then 2000 year-old customs from our Dacian ancestors mixed or overlapped with Christian’s traditions. And it isn’t only the Christmas Day. It’s a long row of holidays about. Each one with its own meaning, customs, stories and superstitions.
You can see Christmas holidays on short (that means 3 days between 25 and 28 of December) or in a large sense, the way Romanian people see them (19 days between 20th December and 7th January).
In fact I’d say we have a messenger of all this holidays on 6th December, Niculas Day (Saint Nicholas Day). For Romanians Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus are two different characters.
Next comes Ignat Day on 20th December. A sacrifice day. Pig sacrifice day. Reading my childhood memories about Ignat Day you’ll find out the whole ritual. Or maybe you’re interested in Ignat Day’s customs and superstitions.
This day is the opening one for the whole chain that will come: Christmas Eve with Christmas Eve customs and superstitions of course, Christmas Day, New Year Eve, Sanvasiu (Saint Basil’s Day), Boboteaza (Epiphany Day) and finally Santion (Saint John’s Day).
There is plenty of food and drinks on the tables these days. Of course, special Christmas food. And if you ever wish to try some of the Romanian Christmas recipes I can assure you they are very tasty.
But let’s go back to traditions and customs. I don’t know exactly how is in English but we talk about tradition when a custom is spread all over the country. And we talk about a custom when is only a local custom applicable only to a local area. Romania is a little country but it has many tradition and countless customs.
You can read about specific customs on each holiday page. But I think traditions deserve a special space. In chronological order we have:
- Colindul – Carols’ trail
- Dubasii – Drummers’ band
- Steaua – The Star
- Capra – The goat
- Ursul – The bear
- Plugul – The plough
- Irozii, Vicleimul – Nativity Drama
All this traditions complete the paint of Christmas in Romania. Food and wine could be the best. But if you don’t see a live show of at least one custom you can’t feel the magic. The magic of a Christmas in Romania.