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MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR !
Winter holidays are the most original and spectacular local spiritual celebration. The unique variety of colorful customs and believes, folklore and artistic events start on Christmas Eve. They go through New Year and end on Epiphany. These one of-a-kind-traditions vary from region to region. But Star, Gout, Bear, Little Plough and Sorcova are well known everywhere. Spend the most joyous season in the small remote villages from Maramures and Moldavia. There they remained almost unaltered.
Go shopping to the most attractive Christmas markets: Sibiu, Brasov, Bucharest
Christmas markets are among the most beautiful places you can visit during this period. Follow the beautiful soothing music towards and colorful lights. Tantalising cinnamon, mulled wine and cozonac flavors will make you enjoy the holidays like a child. Plus you will find plenty of inspiration for those Christmas presents.
On Christmas Eve, after sunset, children start to go caroling. Adults welcome them with all kind of treats. Pretzels, nuts, apples, cakes, cookies, candies, honeycombs and money go into children’s bags. Later, adult carolers sing and dance in the houses’ front yards. Hosts invites them for drinks, food and presents. Children holding colored paper stars will sing Steaua (Star) for all 3 days Christmas holidays.
Party like Romanians on New Year’s Eve
Little Plough custom arose from “Carmen arvale” Roman’s way to wish for crops’ protection. While wishing for fertile farm fields, children make noises with a little decorated plough, bells, whips and pipes.
Traditionally, Sorcova is an apple, cherry, pear or plum tree twig. Put in water on Saint Andrew’s Day (November 30) it buds and blossoms by New Year’s Eve. Nowadays it is any little stick adorned with artificial colored flowers. On New Year’s morning, children slightly hit wit it the back of their parents and other close ones. And they wish them health, luck and a Happy New Year.
In between these customs get stylish and party all night long. It’s New Year’s Eve !
Join the Epiphany celebrations
Epiphany celebrations are on January 6, the year’s frostiest day, when water has special powers. This is the day of Christ’s baptism in Jordan River.
If in Bucharest, join the people on Mitropoly’s Hill where Patriarch consecrates the water.
If in Constanta, you will see Patriarch throwing 3 crosses into sea to consecrate water. Defying cold weather, brave youngsters retrieve them for protection throughout the year. After ceremony, oxen and donkeys pulled chariots ride on city’s avenues giving people bottles with holy water.
Saint John the Baptist
Winter Holiday Season ends on January 7, the Day of Saint John the Baptist.
By the way, if your name is John we have a litle surprise awaiting for you !