Easter in Romania

Easter in Romania

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The last week from the Great Lent is called the Holy Week, and it begins with the Palm Sunday, which in Romania is known as "Floriile", when girls with the name of Florina usually celebrate this day as their name day. The Holy Week also includes the Maundy Thursday (in Romanian is called "joia patimilor") and the Good Friday, which in Romanian is called "vinerea mare", when the people are not supposed to eat at all. There are many traditions and customs for Easter in Romania, but many depend on the region.Everywhere in our country there is the tradition of painting eggs and another one, of the bunny.The Easter Bunny is a mythological rabbit who brings eggs and candy to children on the Easter holiday. The rabbit as an Easter symbol seems to have its origins in 1500, Germany; the first candies in a rabbit shape seem to have appeared in 1800 also in Germany. Easter eggs are specially decorated eggs given to celebrate the Easter holiday. It is said that these eggs are often hidden by the Easter bunny, for children to find the eggs on Easter morning, in the Easter baskets. Easter eggs are a widely popular symbol of new life in Russia, Romania and other countries. Took over by the Christians, the red eggs symbolize the blood poured by the Jesus Christ for the people' salvation, becoming one of the most important symbols for Easter. Beginning with the Tuesday from the Holy Week, especially on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and on Saturday, in each and every household the eggs are red painted. Furthermore, the tradition of painting eggs has "developed", since the eggs are now, beside red, yellow, and blue, orange, green. In older traditions, eastern and western, eggs were, and in some traditions still are, for example in Romania, one of the foods that were given up for Lent and one of the first types of food eaten to break the fast. Another important aspect of the Easter symbols is: knocking eggs. When the Lent is over, people eat eggs, but they knock them, saying: "Christ has risen" and/or"Christ has risen indeed". The one that knock the egg first says "Christ has risen". Also, the greeting when a Christian meets someone else has to be the same: "Christ has risen" and the second person has to say: "Christ has risen indeed", but this only from the Resurrection day to the Ascension Day. Roast lamb, which is a very important dish for Romanians, is the traditional meat for the main meal on Easter Day. Romanians have on Easter day also the Easter Lamb soup, prepared by all the women in their households. The housewives also prepare a specialty from lamb, named caul, lamb's caul, and it is often stuffed with innards and herbs and baked in tomato sauce. Beside these important meals made from lamb meat, women prepare all sorts of specialties, such as the Easter pasca. The housewives bake pasca only once a year, on Easter holiday. This sweet cream cheese cake has a round shape (reminding little Jesus' diapers) and in the middle it has a cross, decorated on the edges with knitted dough. Another important dainty is the pound cake. The Romanians go at night, on Holy Saturday to church, for celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The first words a priest says in the Resurrection's night are: "Come to receive light!" Then each and every Christian goes to light their candles, because this signifies the spiritual light, that Jesus has risen from the death. However, besides its religious signification, the Easter holiday has developed in Romania an important number of traditions, customs, in which symbols, traditional meals and superstitions are put together. For example, in Bucovina, all the girls go to the church,more especially to steeple and wash the tongue of the bell with pure water, and on the Easter morning, with the same water they wash their faces, for them to be beautiful the whole year. Another tradition is to be found in the surroundings of the beautiful town, Sibiu. It is said that in that area, people make a tree like the Christmas tree, but this time they decorate the tree with colored eggs. A specific custom exists in Lapus, Maramures. There, young boys go on the Holy Sunday morning to their neighbors to announce them the revival of Jesus Christ; the neighbours have to give them a red egg. In Maramures also, the threshold has to be passed first by a man, in order to not take place any quarrel all over the year. In Banat for instance, on the first day of Easter, at breakfast, people practice the tradition of incensing the goods; then, every table companion receives an Easter spoon = wine and hallowed bread. In Transylvania, the man of the house shares a single hallowed egg with the rest of the family. A belief from Bucovina says that the people that knock red eggs in the Easter day will meet each other in the life after death. Moreover, the one whose egg breaks first, will die before the other one. Among the candies prepared for Easter, in Arges the housewives prepare egg cracknel (=covrigi cu ou), and they struggle to prepare this dainty, being considered a symbol of plenty, because according to this recipe, there are needed 15 eggs per kg of flour. On the first day of Easter in Ardeal, there is the custom of getting wet the girls; the boys come to the girls' houses and say: "I heard that you have a beautiful flower, I came here to wet it, in order for it not to dry", and then they sprinkle them with eau-de-Cologne. Furthermore, there appeared many sayings regarding the future of a man for the rest of the year. In Siret they say that who sleeps on the Easter Day, is going to have trouble with the hay the rest of the year. Moreover, in Mihalcea, who doesn't sleep al all on the Easter Day, is going to be very active and all things will go as they should go. In Botosani, it is said that if one takes salt with their hands on Easter, then all the year his hands will sweat. All over the country, it is said that on Easter people should wear new clothes, as a sign of renovation.

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