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Romania’s traditions and customs at the most important events in people’s lives Romania’s traditions and customs at the most important events in people’s.

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Presentation on theme: "Romania’s traditions and customs at the most important events in people’s lives Romania’s traditions and customs at the most important events in people’s."— Presentation transcript:

1 Romania’s traditions and customs at the most important events in people’s lives Romania’s traditions and customs at the most important events in people’s lives

2 The Romanians have always expected the arrival of a newborn child with joy. This happiness is epitomized through the old saying: `The more children, the richer '. So, the newlyweds’ desire is that God should bless their household with sons and daughters. There are some ancient beliefs that might help the bride if her desire is not granted. She would look for help in different remedies and she would consume certain beverages made of plants. It has commonly been believed that the pregnant woman should obey certain rules in every step she makes, regulations which refer to her everyday life. These should be kept after the birth so that no harm should be done to the woman or to the new-born baby. Folk beliefs also state that the pregnant woman should stay indoor as much as possible so that she should not be bewitched. In the past people believed that if the woman gave water to somebody, she would have been able to give birth only if, in return, that person gave her water to drink from his (her) hands. She was not allowed to blow on the bread in the oven as this might have led to the birth of a child with a viciously joint tongue. Moreover, another thing she could not do was to pass through the weaving-loom and to eat joint berries as this might have influenced her pregnancy and she could have twins. Other folk Romanian beliefs have said that if a pregnant woman kicked a dog, her child might be dog-hearted. She could not be a bridesmaid as her child might die. A woman should admit that she is pregnant as if she did not do this when people asked her, her child might be born a mute. A baby’s birth into this world is seen as the transition from the unknown to the known world.

3 The bathing of the newborn child Not long after the child’s birth there follows his/her bathing. The water should not be very warm as the folk belief says that the baby who has been bathed in it, will ward off cold, he/she won’t get scared easily because as a rule when the baby is plunged into that not very warm water, he/she will be scared enough. The things which are put in the water for the baby’s first bathing will be : some basil, some silver coins, peony flower, some crumbs of bread, a lump of sugar, some honey comb, an egg, a little fresh milk and some holy water. The basil means that this baby, especially if this is a girl, will be clean, loved and attractive like the basil. The silver coins are placed so that the child should be worthy and unspotted like silver and exactly like in the case of silver, people should love this child. As he is bathed for the first time in money, this will prevent him from suffering from shortage of money throughout his/her lifespan. The egg will mean that the child will be whole and healthy like an egg. The fresh milk is for the baby’s white complexion and richness. The Holy water is also present so that the evil spirits should not come close to the child. There is also the custom to add some salt for friendship. In short, all these things are used so that the child should be : Scump ca argintul Valuable like silver Dulce ca mierea, Sweet like honey Bun ca painea. Good like bread, Sanatos ca oul, Healthy like the egg. Rumen ca bujorul, Ruddy like a peony Atragator ca busuiocul Attractive like the basil Si alb ca laptele. And white like snow

4 The bathing of the newborn child After the child has been taken from the water, the following words will be said: If it is a boy: Sa fie sanatos Let him be healthy Si norocos And lucky Si mintos And clever Si voios And merry Si frumos And handsome Si dragastos And loveable Si-nvatat And learned Si bogat And wealthy Om de treaba! A decent man! If it is a girl: Let her be noticed And healthy And lucky And clever And merry And beautiful And loveable And learned And rich A decent woman And noticeable.

5 Fatal Sisters After birth, in the folk tradition, each child receives his destiny from these fairies. They are magical beings, sisters, fairies that nobody has seen and just a few have heard. They are said to come to preordain the child’s fate always in the week he/she was born, in the odd nights. One thing is certain - what they predict is always true. In Moldavia, some people say that they are in a number of three, some seven, some nine or twelve; in Transylvania you will hear that they are three, seven, nine or eleven. Those in Oltenia believe that there are three sisters, one small, one medium and another one who is tall.

6 Fatal Sisters It is believed that before going to the child and predestinate him, they agree on his/her fate. There are places of the country, in which on the third night the child was born, the family places bread, salt, wine and money in the child’s room so that the Fatal Sisters should find something to eat, to drink and money to spend. In Bucovina, the light should be on as otherwise they will get angry and will foreordain an unpleasant fate for the child.

7 Traditions of Christening in Romania According to the Romanian traditions a newborn child is christened after she/he turns 40 days old. It is advisable that the mother should not participate in her child’s christening if this occurs sooner than the 40-day period. It is good that the child’s family and godparents should confess their sins before. For the christening ceremony there will be needed: A towel and soap which will be used by the priest. There will be a ritual washing before committing the Sacraments of Christening. The Towel and soap are also a kind of offering to the priest by the godparents. In general, there are white towels which are used. A bunch of basil which will be used to sprinkle the baby and tie the Christening ribbon. Basil is an aromatic plant which has been used in religious rituals since ancient times..

8  A bottle with oil. It can be any kind of oil - it will be blessed and used for anointing the baby with the "oil of gladness" during the ritual.  The candle - can be a simple one. Its adornment signifies the happiness that a child will be christened.  With this candle ( in fact with its smoke), the priests will make the sign of the cross at the door and then, the candle will be extinguished.  The Christening cloth - must be white. The baby will be wrapped in this cloth after the Threefold Diving. The little one will need comfort and safety so, he should be wrapped well. The white color symbolizes the Church’s purity and Faith, and also, the baby’s cleanliness and purity.  The child's birth certificate (in original and a copy which should be left to the priest)  A certificate from the family’s general practitioner or pediatrician who has supervised the child and which states that the baby can be christened, that he/she does not suffer from any disease that could get worse during christening or that could endanger his/her health or the other babies who are to be christened in the same font.

9 Godparents Godparents are the spiritual parents of the child and they hold a crucial role in the ceremony of christening. In Romania, in general, the baby receives the same name as the Godparent or at least nowadays the spiritual parent may choose one of the child’s names. These godparents will be the ones who will be by the future grown-up’s side when he/ she gets married. During the Christening ceremony the godparents confess, forsake their forefathers’ sins and all the evil things and they worship Jesus thus christening the child. They have to bring: - the clothes in which the baby will be dressed after he/she is christened - the candle that is used - the white cloth in which the baby will be held and a pink or a blue ribbon about 1 m in length - crosses to put on the guests’ chest -the soap and towel for the priest and also some oil which will be blessed - wine The godfather buys earrings for the girl and the godmother a chain with a cross for the boy. After the christening, when parents and godparents reach the child’s home, this one is placed in the threshold and before the mother picks her child, the godmother tells the mother ‘You gave me a pagan, I brought you a Christian.’

10 The Guardian Angel After having been christened, every child gets a guardian angel that will protect him/her from all the evil things throughout his existence. That’s why, each person prays in his childhood: Angel, my angel Pray to God For my little soul During the day and night Till the final moment comes

11 The Bathing of the Christened Child The day after the christening is called “the bathing of the child". This is usually done by midwives, the godmother and mother, along with several women: relatives, neighbours and friends. This bathing is very important for the child, being very meaningful. Water should be taken at sunrise. In the water there are put : flowers - so that the child should be beautiful money - to have wealth holy water so that the baby should be clean like this stones - to be strong seeds (wheat, maize, etc.) -to be lucky and fair basil - to smell nice honey – to be sweet milk - in order to be fresh A ring – to have curly hair and be lucky in love dill – to be like dill in food poppy flower - to sleep better feathers- to be as light as a feather hemp seed - to grow fast jewelry - so the child will be lucky in life silver - so he would be clean, unblemished


13 The Purpose of getting married The purpose of marriage for the Romanians is to have a spouse to rely on and to have fun with, to comfort him/her in case of suffering and unhappiness, in short, to have somebody with whom to share joy and sadness, the good and bad aspects of life. The second aim is to have legitimate children who will maintain the family name so that their blood and lineage should never perish, so that to have somebody to take care of them and support them when they are old and after death to have somebody to mourn for them and bury them as Christians, to talk about them and give the alms and to pray for them so that their sins will be forgiven. The third reason would be that nobody should say about them that they have lived in vain. The proper age for marriage: People should marry when they are mature enough and know very well all the things that should be done in a household.

14 The Future Spouses’ Traits The Bride’s Traits A girl who wants to get married before she becomes a spinster should possess the following traits: she should be honest, reliable, hardworking, money- conscious, careful, witty, wise, beautiful and above all healthy. Regarding the girl’s beauty, the Romanians say: Decat sa mananc mamaliga cu unt Rather than eat maize porridge with butter Si sa ma uit in pamant And look at the ground Mai bine paine cu sare I’d better eat bread and salt Si sa ma uit la ea ca la soare And look at her as I look at the sun which means that the Romanian men prefer a woman’s beauty to her wealth. They believe that if the woman is ugly and they can’t even look at her, everything is pointless; they would rather have a spouse who is not wealthy but they can live in peace and harmony together.

15 The Bridegroom’s Traits The characteristics required from a bride are necessary for the bridegroom but beauty is of no importance. A Romanian saying says that “A man should be a little bit more handsome than the devil” In general, a bride’s parents are not really interested in their future son-in law’s physical appearance. They always make sure that he has the necessary means to support his family and at the same time he is trustworthy, hardworking and healthy.

16 Parents’ Consent When two people want to get married, they always ask for their parents’ consent from the both side. As the following lines of folklore say: Binecuvantarea parintilor The parens’ blessing Intareste casa fiilor Stengthen their children’s house Iar blestemul parintilor The parents’ curse Risipeste casa fiilor Crumbles their children’s house It is believed that the one who disobeys his/her parents and gets married against their wish can’t be fortunate as in a short period of time, will be punished by God. Cine n-asculta de mama Who disobeys their mother N-are-n lume nicio sama Does not have any meaning in life Cine n-asculta de tata, Who disobeys their father N-are noroc niciodata. Does never have any luck Nici eu nu i-am ascultat, I haven’t listened to them either Si Dumnezeu m-a certat. And God scolded me. According to the Romanians’ beliefs, the most suitable days to ask somebody’s hand in marriage, to get engaged and get married, are on Thursdays and on Sundays. Our people believe that it is not good to get married on Christmas and Easter Days.

17 Customs, traditions and symbols during the marriage ritual - the fir tree: the fir tree means joy as exactly as everybody is happy to see the evergreen tree, all the guests, the bride and groom should be merry and be strong and joyful for a long time, the same way the fir tree is, both in winter and in summer, evergreen. - bathing: in the eve or on the day of the marriage, the bride and the groom have to bathe in fresh water in which they place,exactly like in the case of the newborn child ‘s bathing, some silver coins, honey comb, fresh milk and beautifully smelling plants, especially basil so that their whole life should be attractive and full of love like the basil, spotless and clean like silver and milk and sweet like the honey combs.

18 Customs, traditions and symbols during the marriage ritual Dressing and embellishing the bride early in the morning, on the wedding day is another custom which is closely respected. All the bride’s close relatives get together in order to get her dressed in the clothes she has already bought before the wedding and also they assist her while she has her hair done. Before proceeding to the wedding, there is the custom in some parts of Romania, that the girls should ask for forgiveness from her parents, siblings, relatives and all the close people who are present. Both parents and the closed relatives forgive he and bless her, wishing all the best to her Dumnezeu sa te ierte God should forgive you, Dumnezeu sa-ti ajute, God should help you, Dumnezeu sa te binecuvanteze, God should bless you, Intr-un ceas bun cu noroc. At a good time with luck.

19 Customs, traditions and symbols during the marriage ritual Before going to church, the bride together with two lads whose parents are still alive, go to a well in the village. From her house to the well they dance three Romanian round dances “hore” in three different places. Reaching the well they take water out of it in a recipient in which they put some basil and then they return home, repeating three Romanian round dances around the recipient this time. The basil from the water is placed under the pillow the newlyweds will sleep. The belief is that as long as the basil will resist under the pillow, the same amount of time they will live. After arriving home from the wedding ceremony, the bride holds her mother-in-law and if she can lift her then, she will be the boss in the household, if not, the mother-in-law.

20 The wedding party is an opportunity for all the people to meet, wear their best clothes, eat traditional food and dance traditional Romanian dances called : Romanian round dances ”hore”. The wedding dress of the maidens was a proof that the girls knew to sew and weave, which was a very important condition for marriage.

21 Marriage in Muntenia In Muntenia (Wallachia) there has been preserved for a long time the custom of the adorned fir tree. On the evening before the wedding, there is the task of the groom and his friends to adorn a fir- tree with paper, ribbons, bells and fruit and they will place on top of the tree a bottle of plum brandy and a plum cake. This fir tree is of a great importance as it will be carried by a lad chosen by the groom in the forefront of the wedding procession. After the wedding, the tree remains at the gate of the newly-weds, being a sign that there is the place where a young couple lives.

22 As in other areas of Romania, the knot-shaped- bread plays an important role in the wedding. These kinds of fancy bread accompany the tree and before the bridal dance that precedes the departure of the wedding procession to church, the bride’s godmother tears this knot-shaped bread over the bride’s head. The dancing of the roasted chicken is a custom which is still kept especially in villages. A woman who is either a guest at the wedding or the cook of the wedding, dances with a roasted chicken in front the godfather who must negotiate a price for it. In some places, the godfather tries to steal the chicken, which is usually cooked by the bride’s mother.

23 Marriage in Moldova In Moldova, there is the custom of calling to the wedding. This is made by the bride and groom, by in-laws, and by the special lads who are the best men. They go to every villager with a bottle of wine or brandy and bids them to have a sip. Traditions are similar to those of Wallachia, so here the dancing of the roast chicken and the adorned fir tree are also present. Moldavian marriage is a bouquet of traditions and culture. People sit together and are served with food and wine. Traditional dances also take place. Specific to Moldova is the number of godparents. In the past, people from Moldova chose 20 pairs of godparents but this was according to their social position. Nowadays, the bride and the groom have one pair of godparents and very rarely two pairs. Godparents are the ones in charge with buying accessories: the bridegroom’s flower, the bridal veil and the wedding candles.

24 There is also the custom in which the bride goes to fetch water. In Moldova she takes a bucket which is adorned with basil to the nearest water source where she fills it, then with basil soaked in the water from the bucket she sprinkles around, making the sign of the cross. It is believed that the girls who get sprayed with this water will marry soon. Moldavian marriage is a bouquet of traditions and culture. People sit together and are served with food and wine. Traditional dances also take place. In Moldova, people speak of "wedding parties" instead of just "weddings,” The wedding ceremony itself isn’t the focus of the festivities; it can be a small, understated event leading up to the wedding party proper, usually an all-night. The traditional wedding party is magnificent in its arrangement, and intense from the moral ethical point of view. The singing and dancing continues until the sunrise. At dawn everyone sits down for a minute and the bride is given a child to hold in her arms.

25 A Moldovian maxim says: "The person who has failed to build a home, to raise a son, to dig a well and to plant a tree has wasted his life". That's why the Moldovian villages are so green, the houses are so beautiful and you can see wells along the streets.

26 Marriage in Banat In Banat the wedding is the most important and often spectacular event to which the whole community participate with great joy. A highlight of the wedding ritual is as in Moldova, the call to the wedding which is made by the best men. They walk in the village and invite people to the ceremony and gives them a bottle of plum brandy. Those who accept are expected to drink at the wedding, which lasts at least for two days with all the related traditions. Before the ceremony, when the groom goes to the bride's parents to ask her in marriage, an old woman is first brought to him and then a girl and only in the end his future wife appears. The ceremony is followed by a feast, and the bride’s dance. The day after the wedding, the bride and groom go to a fountain situated at a crossroads where they take out a bucket of water and pour water to people to wash their hands in exchange for money. During that day, too the newlyweds go to their godparents to offer them a gift as token of their appreciation.

27 Marriage in Maramures The wedding in Maramures has the following stages : the asking-in-marriage, the engagement and the wedding ceremony. Everybody has a great importance in the wedding procession: the "callers" to the wedding, the bridesmaids, the "socacita" (chief-cook), the musicians, the group of lads and the wedding guests.

28 In Oas, even nowadays, the bride and the bridegroom wear traditional folk costumes made of wool even if it is summer. Their costumes are hand-made but a special emphasis has the bride’s costume which weighs more than 2o kilos. On this occasion, she wears a special wedding head dress which is adorned with beads and it is extremely intricate.

29 Marriage in Dobrogea In Dobrogea the customs are varied as with the passing of time its inhabitants have borrowed from Turkish or Tartar traditions. The wedding begins on Thursday and ends on Sunday, but traditionally the bride and the groom see each other only after three days since the beginning of the wedding rituals. At these festivities all members of the community participate, whether invited or not. One superstition says that the groom should sit on the bride's dress while kneeling in church if he wants to have an obedient wife. After the bride’s veil is replaced by the head scarf, there is the bride’s Romanian round dance in which only the women will take part. In turns, each of them will dance with the bride and they will give her money for this honour.

30 Today the wedding in cities is more or less different, but somehow it maintains some of the traditions we have talked about so far. Anyway, the goal of marriage has been the same from past until the present moment, from one region to another: happiness !


32 Traditions about Death There are many customs which signify the farewell of the dead from this world. The first thing is the lit wax candle which means that the dying person is a Christian and that he is in communion with everybody and his spirit will be met with light when it leaves the body. There is also the custom to close his eyes so that he should not see the sorrow and pain of his relatives.

33 After the dead person was placed on the table in the coffin, the women who are closely related to him /her, taking off all their jewels and adornments, coming near him/her start keening, uttering the lamenting words : De cum de te-ai indurat For how you endured yourself De-asa iute m-ai lasat That so quickly you left me Ian scoala si te trezeste You should wake and get up Si cu noi ceva vorbeste And talk something with us Macar doua, trei cuvinte. At least two or three words. Ca sa le tinem in minte. To keep them in our minds Ca de cand ai adormit As since you fell asleep Mai mult nu mi te-ai trezit You have not woken up a little bit Cu noi nimic n-ai vorbit. With us you have not spoken anything. Then after other words the keening women address to the dead person and they keep saying Au doara nu ma auzi Or don’t you just hear me Au nu vrei ca sa-mi raspunzi Or don’t you just want to answer me Au tare te-ai maniat Or you just got so angry Ori imi esti mult suparat Or are you only very upset?

34 Then seeing that he/she does not answer, that he/she does not give any signs of life, they conclude in this way: De cantat ti-as mai canta I would keep singing to you if I could Da mi-I fripta inima But my heart is burnt Si nu pot mai mult canta. And I can’t sing more than this Inima mi-I fripta in mine My heart is burnt in me Ca nu vad suflet in tine. As I do not see the soul in you Sufletelul ti-a zburat Your little soul flew away Sus in ceriul ce-l inalt High up in the sky Si pe mine m-a lasat And you left me M-a lasat sa patimesc You left me to suffer In lume sa m-osindesc, In this world to be doomed de-al tau dor sa ma topesc. For your longing to be consumed.

35 The women who cry are careful that their tears should not fall on the deceased's face, as it is believed that they might drown his soul. At a person’s funeral, his relatives prepare the alms, bake the knot-shaped bread named ” colaci”, and cook “coliva”, a kind of porridge made of wheat grains and nuts, a type of food which is made only for the dead and which is sweet and beautifully decorated. In Romania there are some places in which this dish stands for the sins of the deceased. People decorate a branch of a fruit-bearing tree with different dried or fresh fruits and knot-shaped bread. This branch may signify : the tree of life, the spirit’s crossing to the other realm, the recreation of the spirit after passing the customs or the paradise tree.

36 When the final moment approaches, the dying man’s relatives send for the priest, so that this person should be able to confess to his sins and receive the Eucharist. This ritual is respected minutely in every detail so that the dead person’s soul should rest in peace. There are a few phases to be followed and everything is seen as a whole. The person who has just died is washed, dressed in his/her best suit, his/her hair is combed and then the relatives announce his/her death in the village. The bells toll. During the wake there will be candles lit so that this light should illuminate the way of the soul to the heavens (the "soul's candle") There will be prayers so that his/her sins should be forgiven. There will be some objects which will be put in the hand of the dead person among which there can be listed: money, a stick, the knot-shaped bread.

37 The body stays in the house for three days and during this period the women in the house mourn and keen for him/hers. People from the village or town come to the deceased ‘ s house in order to pay their respect, light a candle, bring flowers and stand or sit around the coffin to keep company to the dead. The relatives start cooking the food that will be served after the burial. Many people come with different types of food products when they come to pay their respect so many dishes will be prepared using this. The night before the burial, at the dead person’s house, the priest makes special prayers, the "requiem“ is held - and at this mass, only the close people take part. Before the deceased is accompanied on his last way to the church and then to the burial ground, there are some things to be done : the alms which will be given to those present or to poor people, the knot-shaped bread that is for the priest, the person who should read the psalm, the bell which should toll, the persons who will carry the body, the persons who will hold the candles, the icon and the cross.Before the procession begins, the psalm reader makes a cross with a lit candle on the walls and the priest starts reading from the Evangelic. The relatives are around the coffin.

38 The Romanians focus on religious ceremonies which should be done so that the soul should go to heaven but, there are also folk beliefs that for each person, there are both a star and a tree. That’s why the falling of the star marks the death of a person and the tree (a fir tree) is cut in the forest and brought to the deceased ‘s house. There is a song which is sung only by women and tells about the connection which existed between the person with this tree of life. The song expresses the grief of the fir as it knows that it will have the same fate as the dead person so it will dry and die. There is another custom at funerals which is called the dawn song. There are some old women who sing this song at the dawn of the two days between the person’s death and the funeral. This song gives advice to the deceased and it tells him/her about the journey he/she will make to the realm of his/her forerunners. This is a song about the great passage.

39 The end

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