It is December, almost the end of it , the cold it is here, we have also some snow, we are ready for winter holidays, you know Christmas and the night between years.
Hmm Christmas we all celebrate it, or almost all.. but what do we celebrate? Most will say the birth of Christ some will say we celebrate Christmas on an old pagan holiday.
Before saying more lets make a little travel in time and see a bit how things started.. After that I will tell you some of the tradition I have in my country. So grab my hand and let’s see how all started.
Long ago on 25 December people used to celebrate, at least the Romans, Sol Invictus the Sun God, who was the patron of soldiers. In 274 A.D., 25 December the cult became the official cult in Roman Empire along with the others Roman cults. Sol Invictus represented the Unconquered Sun. The cult was so popular that the Sun God was on several coins at that time. This lasted until Constantine time. Constantine was the Emperor who adopted Christianity in all the Empire. Some argue that the day for Christ birthday wasn’t choose exactly on the old pagan day for Sun God celebration, but as in many cases the old pagans holidays were replaced with the new religion so the transition for people would be easier.
So now that we saw from where all started let’s see how making gifts in this period started. All started in Christianity with the 3 heralds who came on Christ birth and brought gifts for the new born, that will rule the world.
On Romanian tradition is says that Santa was an good, old guy who when he found out that Maria was doe to give birth, he sent his wife to help her to give birth in the stall. Later when the child was born, he putted the baby under a apple tree and started to give apples to kids that were passing by, from here is supposed to begin the giving gifts. A legend that it is bit difficult to believe as apples tree are not with fruits in December around here, but who knows how were things than.
Now another thing that we do on Christmas is to decorate Christmas trees so let’s see how this started. Let’s go a bit in time again, in Romans times it seems they used to use the fir tree branches to decorate houses as a symbol to life after the winter solstice.
Later it said that Saint Bonifaciu ordered that all oaks tree to be cut as they were venerated by pagans. In the process of cutting and falling of oak tree the other trees that were around, fallen as well except the fir tree. Since than the tree represented a symbol and started to be decorated in the Christmas day.
Now grab my hand and lets have a walk while I’ m telling you some of our traditions here, in my country.
First we start with a sacrifice ( I told you every religion has some old pagan remains), on 20 December we traditionally cut a pig. They will choose it, make the sign of crucifix on his forehead and than kill it. Kids will come for a ride on a pig and also for what we call charity pig. Kids will receive some skin pork that was scorch so they can have some bites.
Women will gather the meat so they can use it in the days that will come to prepare food. Some of traditional dishes will be sausages, pig’s trotters, tobă( which is a mix of boiled organs), later on Christmas day sarmale. There will be some sweets also some cake sponge, some pies.
Kids but not only, go to carol people, to bring good fortune for those who open their home for them and bad luck for those that don’t let them in, they will receive fruits, bagels or money. The carols heralds the birth of Christ and also chase away bad spirits.
Before Christmas women( unfortunately mostly just women ) clean all the house. Some also put some garlic around the house to chase away dead spirits that may want to come in a little unwanted visit. Tradition says you shouldn’t do cleaning on Christmas day or throw the garbage out, that will mean that you throw your luck out, you won’t what that :). After they done with the cleaning, women will start do the cooking ( I wonder what will the men do )..
If you want to know how you will be with health, in day before Christmas, you shall grab an apple (preferably not from a supermarket because than won’t work for sure) and split it in two, if the apple had maggots than you will be sick next year, if the apple will be rotten than you shall die and of couse if the apple shall be good than you shall be healthy all the year.
Another tradition this is just for women as they are busy with cooking, they shall get the some dough on their hands and go to a fruit tree( most of tradition applies to countryside, if you live in a city and go out with dough on your hands, you will make all the doors dirty and you will have to search sometime, some few streets maybe until you find a tree that can have eating fruits and than anyway won’t be yours…) and go to tree and say how this dough is so the tree to bear many fruits. In some regions women make some dough that is good to use when you or the animals you have around( if you have) have a” evil eye” problem.
Also young women that are not married can put some food under their pillow to dream of their future husband( well you might have a nightmare.. I wouldn’t recomand it ).
Another tradition is to put a silver coin in fresh water ( also that will be better at country side, fresh water on tap hmm I don’t think the ritual would work :))), after you do this you shall use to water to wash your face so you will be beautiful all year.
Before the Christmas day you should fast, and on Christmas day you can enjoy all the food and drink that you want, tradition says also that on this day and the days that comes, the doctors from hospitals have a lot of patients that indulged themselves with to much food, so be careful to not become one of them. Food won’t vanish that quick …you can eat next day too.
I hope you enjoyed this little trip, there will so many things to say on this tradition but I tried to not get you bored, so I made it bit shorter. I hope you will grab my hand soon and come to enjoy with me another trip. Until than I wish you a time and be happy for this holidays.