The carols’ season in Romania is coming and the tradition is much more alive than in every other moment of the year. Christmas in our country preserves a local specificity in the rural areas in particular, but customs are also observed in the cities, passed on from generation to generation. Hundreds of years old traditions are reborn these days, brought back to life by young and old people alike.
The colaci/kolach are always present on the Christmas table, a traditional bread whose circular shape is preserved for its symbolic references as well (perfection, infinity). A very specific type of dessert, especially in the eastern part of the country, is called Pelincile Domnului, honouring the Holy Mother’s suffering on Christmas Eve. This dessert is particularly intended for the Christmas Eve dinner, when traditionally people fast, as it contains no milk/eggs and is made of layers of baked flatbread obtained from flour, salt and water, which are then filled with hemp seeds (nowadays replaced generally with ground walnuts) and sugar, and then left to soak up a syrup made of honey or sugar, water and some essence.
It is all about love, dedication and harmony, about joy and about dear people by your side and in your heart.
The Christmas period is associated in Romania with the Nativity Fast, starting in mid-November, and everyone tries to prepare in different ways for the upcoming festival. The preparations for the Christmas dinner and the Christmas Day meal start a few days before Christmas Eve. Women cook a lot of dishes, in the villages mostly using the pork meat they have obtained on Ignat Day – the day of December 20th, traditional cakes also start being baked, such as the always present cozonac, a sweet bread filled with raisins and nuts.
The Romanian carols (colinde), besides the content related to the Nativity events, also convey an important segment of the old folkloric creation, using traditional poetry and melodic lines and having played a major role in the preservation of the Orthodox Christian specificity in the area. In the rural society especially, preparing for this event has always been an important part of the Christmas festival. The youth and the children of the village go carolling from house to house and perform in front of the adults of each household, wearing traditional costumes and carrying bells and symbolic objects, like the Star (placed on a pole one of the children carries, the star is made of cardboard and is decorated with traditional motifs and an icon in the middle). After performing, they receive colaci, sweets and fruit (money also, nowadays, in the cities).
We invite you to experience along with us, even in a virtual way, this period of the Christmas days, to feel the emotions, to gather warm moments together with friends, discover wonderful Romanian traditions and fill your soul with joy and happiness.