romanian christmas customs

Stretch the 4 balls of dough into flat, rectangular layers (about 40 cm x 25 cm). 7. 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. Moldovan cottage-cheese pies called poale-n brau, a word that Tomiuc says roughly translates as "skirt-in-waist," evoking the old Romanian custom of "how women would pull the front of their skirts and fix it in their waistband to avoid wetting their skirts while doing laundry in shallow rivers. Add the smoked bacon/pork leg, the sprigs of thyme, and whatever is left of the cabbage. Traditionally, not opening the door to parties of colindatori will mean bad luck for the year to come, so most houses at this time of year are well-stocked with this renowned winter warmer and other treats. 4. 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.. Yet, in Romania, the Christmas season starts long before that, with the Advent running from November 14 until Christmas Day. 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. Christmas season in Romania kicks off right after St. Andrews Day (November 30), when according to local legends, vampires and evil spirits come to light. Although traditions vary depending on the area, the ritual of going from house to house and singing carols has survived in most of the country, despite the variations in songs, costumes and rewards for carolers. 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, The ritual presents the bears death and rebirth, which symbolizes the New Year that is about to come. Your email address will not be published. If you live in a block of flats, chances are carolers have already visited you. In the countryside, the caroling tradition comes in different forms. Children bring home fruits, nuts, money, knot-baked bread and other goods they received from caroling and wait for the arrival of Santa Claus. Penury was the only plentiful thing, along with cold and darkness during the last 10 years of communism, says Tomiuc. (You can use rubber gloves to avoid dried meat sticking to your palms.). Bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. 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.. The plate is served outside, after the traces of the pork sacrifice have been cleaned. 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. You can stack the rolls between layers of chopped cabbage, which adds flavor and helps prevent the sarmale from sticking together. A man stocks up on some seasonal provisions at a Christmas market in Bucharest. In the villages, they go from house to house and each family rewards them with homemade cakes, fruits, and sometimes money.

5. 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 latter is a relatively new practice in Romania but has enjoyed resounding success, becoming an important part of Christmas. The group is made up of young men costumed as bears, as well as bear-leaders, plovers, and drummers. A special song is the Star Carol, accompanied by a star made of coloured paper, decorated with silver foil, tinsel, bells, and in the middle a picture of baby Jesus or the nativity scene. On December 6, Romanians celebrate Saint Nicholas, a very popular character among children. 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. "It's a lot of work , but it is hugely rewarding," he says. 5. Your email address will not be published. Like many other places, Romanias tradition of carol singing is much more widely observed in the countryside nowadays. All the more important is the Nativity Fast, which runs from November 14th to December 24th. ", Plum brandy is regularly drunk around Christmastime in Romania and is a "renowned winter warmer.". 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. When the oven is at 180 degrees, put both cozonaci on one larger tray or two single ones on the bottom rail of the oven and bake them together for 20 minutes. The wish is accompanied by a twig from a fruit tree decorated with paper-made flowers, considered as a magic wand that transmits health, youth and fertility. Dont add another batch of the fatty mixture until the previous one has been fully incorporated. Only the larger leaves of the cabbage are needed for rolling the sarmale. So, lets see what to expect from a Christmas vacation in Romania. 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. (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. 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.. 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. (file photo). 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. To thank the ones who helped with the pig slaughter, the host serves the pomana porcului, made from fried pieces of meat like liver and bacon. Many people in Romania cook Christmas dishes on Christmas Eve (in cities, many also go shopping during this day). 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. On the one hand, theunheard-of sound of Christmas carols on the newly free radio and television on December 24; on the other hand, the heartbreaking footage of hundreds of fresh crosses in the frozen snow in cemeteries across Romania, In the ensuing decades, however, Christmas has long retaken its place in the Romanian psyche, says Tomiuc. 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. 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. 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. 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Eugen Tomiuc is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL. Often accompanied by wishes for health, prosperity, and fulfillment, Romanian carols are far from being just simple Christmas songs. For many Romanians like Tomiuc, who grew up under communism, Christmas will also always be associated with the dramatic events of December 1989, when Ceausescus regime was finally toppled during a violent revolution. 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. 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. To make the filling, cut the Turkish delight into chunks using a wooden board powdered with plenty of castor sugar. Then cover with baking paper and reduce the heat to 170 degrees Celsius. Then add the rest of the sugar and the vanilla and beat for 5 minutes until the mixture is frothy and light in color. 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. 2. The letter is left near the window, so Santa can take it and prepare the requested presents.

Sign up for the newsletter and get notified each time we publish a new post. Required fields are marked *. The Romanian Christmas pig provides a variety of victuals for the seasonal table. They sing superb traditional religious Christmas carols, says Tomiuc. Although in places like Bucharest, poor children sometimes board trams and buses and sing in the hope that passengers will spare some change.. 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. 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. Each of them is playing a role in the ritual. Place the chopped cabbage at the bottom of a large clay pot and arrange the rolled sarmale in a circle. This is usually made of cabbage leaves rolled around a filling usually based onminced meat. 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. 6. Roll the meat up in the leaves nice and tight until all of it is gone. Knead the yeast mixture and the batter, the rest of the milk, the grated lemon and orange zest, and 500 grams of flour for approximately 5 minutes using an electric dough hook. 4. 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.. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer on low heat for at least 2 hours, covering the rolls entirely. One of the most famous things associated with the festivities is the so-called colindatul, or carol singing. 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. Mix the ground meat in a large bowl. Put these plaited rolls in sealed plastic bags and leave them in warm a place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours. Foods allowed during fasting are plenty and tasty, with traditional recipes that would leave any vegetarian with a watering mouth, says Tomiuc. Cut each large leaf in half, removing the tough spiny part to make it easier to roll. 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. 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. Romanians are religious people and they usually practice fasting throughout the year (Mondays and Fridays) by abstaining from eating animal products. If presents cannot be missed from Christmas, theres much more to it in Romania. Permitted delicacies at this time of year include mushroom ragout with mamaliga, a kind of polenta that Romanians have been using as a staple for centuries. You can chop the remainder of the cabbage into rough pieces, which will be used later when cooking the meal. traditions bucovina bricks fired dried quarried clay houses sun building customs