Romani an Christm as We Will Make United Europe WWM.UE Comenius Project Prigoria Secondary School December 2011
Christmas is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated as a religious and cultural holiday by billions of people around the world. Christmas in Romania is popularly known as 'Craciun‘, it falls on December 25 and is generally considered one of the most important religious holiday.
Advent is a spiritual season of preparation before Christmas celebrated by many Christians.It is a period of spiritual preparation in which Christians make themselves ready for the birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ. During this time, Christians observe a season of prayer, fasting and repentance, followed by anticipation, hope and joy. The word "advent" comes from the Latin "adventus" meaning "arrival" or "coming," particularly of something having great importance. For Romanian Orthodox church which use the Julian calendar, Advent begins on November 15, and lasts 40 days.
The coming of Saint Nicholas announces the beginning of the winter holidays, the Christmas and the New Year. The old Saint Nicholas arrives in Romania on the 6th of December, every year. Saint Nicholas is generous not only with the children, but the adults, too. On the evening of the 5th of December, the boots are being happily polished in every home. Children usually put the boots near the entrance door, waiting for the presents. Saint Nicholas takes care of each member of the family. He puts a little present into every one's boots. This custom is very old in Romania, and Saint Nicholas Day is one of the most important festivals of the year, especially for the children. The coming of Saint Nicholas announces the beginning of the winter holidays, the Christmas and the New Year. The old Saint Nicholas arrives in Romania on the 6th of December, every year. Saint Nicholas is generous not only with the children, but the adults, too. On the evening of the 5th of December, the boots are being happily polished in every home. Children usually put the boots near the entrance door, waiting for the presents. Saint Nicholas takes care of each member of the family. He puts a little present into every one's boots. This custom is very old in Romania, and Saint Nicholas Day is one of the most important festivals of the year, especially for the children.
A very important Christmas custom practiced in Romanian villages is 'Ignatius', the sacrifice of a pig in every house in the honor of Saint Ignatius. A pig is specially chosen for this purpose and fed to make it grow fat, often around 200 kilograme. Five days before Christmas, on 20th of December this sacrificial ceremony is performed in the back yard of houses. Thereafter, the pig’s hair is singed.
Then, a sign of the cross is made on the pig's back and, after a wish of eating healthy the pig, a small portion of the pig's meat is immediately fried and a feast is held. All the extended members of the family, friends and neighbors are invited to the feast and the meat is then shared with them, along with bacon and plum brandy. This feast is known as the pig's funeral feast.
On 23th December begins the Christmas holiday and it is celebrated with a party at school where the children prepared carols, poems, dances to express their joy for Christmas coming
The singing of carols is a very important part of Romanian Christmas festivities. Throughout the Christmas season, little Romanian children (especially those in the villages) together with the priest visit every house in the locality singing carols such as Steaua ('The Star'), Trei Pastori ('The Three Shepherds') and Mos Craciun ('Santa Claus') and reciting poems.
On the first day of Christmas, many carolers walk through the streets of the towns and villages. The leader of the group carries a large wooden star called "Steaua", which is wrapped up with metal foil and adorned with bells and colored ribbons. In return for such performances, carolers receive apples, nuts, traditional cakes ('cozonaci') and sometimes even money from each house.
In Romanian familes, all the women cook for three days leading up to 'Craciun'. Christmas dinner in Romania is a rich, multi-course meal. On the top of the menu comes various kinds of pork sausages, along with plum brandy and home made pickles. 'Sarmale', an indispensable item for the festive dinner, comes next. This dish consists of pickled cabbage leaves stuffed with a combination of pork and beef, along with rice, pepper, thyme and other spices. Other dishes to follow are roasted pork and turkey with red wine. The wine is consumed to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The last item is 'cozonaci', a cake filled with nuts and raisins. All the members of the extended family enjoy the feast together.
The celebrations continue with the decoration of the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. Fir trees are the Christmas trees here. Gift exchanges take place in Romania in the evening of Christmas Eve. All the family members receive presents for Christmas. Romanian children know that 'Mos Craciun' (the Romanian equivalent of Santa Claus) is the one who delivers them their presents.
Christmas Day is one of the most special holiday for all of us. It is appropriate that this special day to pay special attention to preparing meals that you serve with your loved ones. Christmas in Romania is the time when the whole family gather, even if some are far away.