January 1, 2015

Romanian Traditions - Sorcova



I hope that all of you had an awesome New Year’s Eve. While traditionally in Romania Christmas is a day spent together with the family, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with friends or just staying at home and watching TV.

Once again, May all your dreams and wishes for 2015 become reality!
Here winter festivities don’t end with the New Year. They go on until 7th January, St. John’s Day, when women called Ioana,  and men called Ion,( English equivalent of Joanna, John), celebrate their name day. 
Today, on 1st January, there’s the moment when family members or neighbors are caroled by children with the SORCOVA. Sorcova is a stick, around 30 cms long ornate with colored paper flowers and ribbons. The rhymes are wishes for a long life and health. Here's an approximate translation:
Merry Sorcova,

May you live to get old,

Like an apple tree, like a pear tree.
Strong as a rock, swift as an arrow….”

Strong as the iron, swift as steel…..”
In the old times the stick was in fact a young branch of apple tree or cherry tree that was put in a vase with water on St Andrew’s night. The branch burst into bloom until New Year and this was used as a Sorcova. As about the name it seems to come from Bulgarian “surov” meaning pale green, an allusion to the young branch.

The carol singers receive pretzels or nuts, or apples or money. There are areas where girls aren't allowed to go with Sorcova as they say girls bring bad luck! Hm! I disagree, but this is the custom, anyway.

The fact that the Sorcova has all the colors on it gave a saying. When someone is dressed in unmatched colors,or too many, people say, ”You are dressed like a Sorcova.”

Let me know if you have traditions linked to the first day in the year.

4 comments:

  1. Happy New Year, Carmen! I love how colorful the Sorcova is...it makes me think of spring instead of the long winter ahead. My family has always celebrated New Year's Day with the traditional meal of pork and sauerkraut (along with mashed potatoes). Yesterday, DH and I also did a lot of shopping as many of the stores are open and offering sales. It was a fun way to pass the morning and early afternoon :)

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    1. Happy New Year, Mae!
      Sauerkraut is a favorite with us too. They say it's very goof for health.
      Interesting that shops are opened in your country on 1st January. Here all shops are closed for 1st and 2nd January. It's complete silence all over. There was a real crowd before Christmas and New Year and generally no sales. On the contrary.
      Sorcova is colorful, perhaps to banish the cold and gloomy winter feeling.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. What a fascinating post. I love to hear about the traditions of your culture. Sorcova is a wonderful celebration-- colorful and vibrant with the life that lies beneath the winter snows. Interesting that women were banned in places. Sometimes I think women's power scares the establishment. Thank you for your writings and blog posts. I love reading them. I appreciate our friendship. Cheers and new year blessings to you and yours, dear friend.

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    1. How true, indeed. Women have scared the establishment since ancient times. We still live in a men's world even today.
      The appreciation is mutual. Happy New Year, Flossie, and blessings to you and your family too!

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