From 20th December; when the Romans celebrate St. Ignatius day, to 7th January, the people there consider it to be the Christmas season.
However, the actual commemoration of Christmas starts on 24th December.
It is when you will hear the majority of the people greeting each other with the expression, ‘Craciun Fericit,’ meaning ‘Merry Christmas.’
The Romans also refer to Santa Claus as; ‘Mos Craciun,’ meaning, ‘Old Man Christmas.’ Santa is the primary giver of gifts during the Christmas season.
Also, different European countries have varying ways of saying, ‘happy Christmas.’ The Spanish say, Feliz Navidad,’ the Portuguese, ‘Feliz Natal, while the Swedish say, ‘God Jul.’
The Eve of Christmas, known as; ‘Ajunul Craciunului,’ is an exceptional day full of merry. It is when most preparations take place.
People decorate the Christmas trees the same evening, as children visit different houses to entertain the older people with Christmas carols.
After singing, the children usually receive Christmas rewards in the form of:
- Delicious Roman Cakes called Cozonaci
Before Christmas day (on 6th December), the Romanians celebrate St. Nicholas Day. On 5th December and at night time, children prepare thoroughly.
They clean their shoes and place them outside their house doors, eagerly waiting for the old Nicholas to put in the shoes some small gifts for them.
The Carol Singers and Dancers
Often, the adults will sing carols on the day and night of Christmas. One popular song at this particular season includes; ‘Trai Crai de la rasarit,’ meaning the three wise men from the East.
The other typical song is ‘O ce veste minunata.’ It means Oh what wondrous tidings.
‘Star Carol’ is a long-established Romanian Carol. The people often decorate the colored-paper star with silver foil and tinsel.
The star’s middle part will contain an image of a nativity scene or baby Jesus.
The Carol singers and dancers usually carry the star with them when making the Christmas performances.
The Star Carol rhymes are: ‘The star appears on high. Like the sky’s big secret, the star is bright; may all your wishes become correct.’
Interestingly, a selected individual would often dress up in a goat mask, and then accompany the carol singers. The goat-like person, known as, ‘Capra,’ would entertain people by jumping all over and creating funny scenes.
Besides, a drumming band that is known as the ‘dubasi,’ is one of the most exciting performances.
It usually composes of a group of between fifty to sixty unmarried men. The instruments used include the drum, violin, and saxophone.
The band’s presentation is usually perfect.
The members will take about a month of full practice before Christmas. They often receive various gifts as they make instrumental performances around the streets.
The Festive Foods
During the entire Christmas season, pork is usually the main meal in Romania. Their traditions state that everyone who stores pigs must slaughter them during Christmas.
Whenever you visit the Roman homes this season, they will serve you with dishes such as:
- Pork Chops
- Ciorba de perisoare-Sour vegetable soup (A mixture of bran and pork meatballs)
- Roast Gammon
- Sarmale-Grounded pork in cabbage leaves
- Gogosi-Romanian doughnuts
- Cozonac-nutritious fruit bread
Christmas in Romania is typically a time of full festivity that composes of singing, dancing, and eating.
New Year Events
Customarily, the Romanians on Christmas Eve, usually parade on the streets, a ‘Plugusorul,’ which is a tiny and beautified plough.
It symbolizes that people will experience bountiful harvesting of crops in the coming New Year.
Usually, on New Year day, children will walk around carrying a ‘sorcova- a special flower bunch.’ They then happily wish people a Happy New Year.
Initially, sorcova came from the twigs of fruits such as plum, cherry apple, and pear. In 30th November, people would place the twigs in water jar and keep them at a warm and secure place.
By New Year’s Eve, the twigs would have usually blossomed into leaf.
The Romanians, nowadays, decorate a single twig of specific fruit trees with artificial flowers.
It makes it easier for them to quickly beautify the fruit twigs just before Christmas, rather than wait for more than a month for them to blossom naturally.
In Romanian, Merry Christmas is ‘Crăciun Fericit’. It is interesting to know how people wish Happy or Merry Christmas in other languages.
Learn More With the Help of Video
Main Points About Christmas in Romania
- Sometimes, Christmas eve is called Little Christmas because of the many activities and traditions it holds.
- Family members participate in the Christmas tree decoration on Christmas eve (Ajunul Craciunului).
- Caroling (Colindatul) is very popular in Romania. Usually, on Christmas eve, many children go from house to house to sing for money and treats.
- Unmarried men form a drumming band (dubasi) of 50 to 60 men go from streets to streets with drums, saxophone and violin creating fun tunes.
- A nativity fast runs from the 14th day of November up until Christmas eve. Many Romanians abstain from eating any animal product.
In Romania, there’s a celebration of mid-winter all the way from December 20th to January 7th, including Christmas of course.
If you keep pigs, one will be killed on the 20th by the head of the household, for Christmas dinners.
After, the family will have a meal consisting of bits like pork belly and liver together.
Children get presents on St. Nicholas Day after leaving their shoes outside to be filled at night.
Word Cloud for Christmas in Romania
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Romania. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.