December 31, 2016

Mysterious Romania (XVIII) - New Year Customs and Traditions




Christmas is already over and New Year is soon on our threshold. Homes and stores are beautifully decorated . To Romanians, in general , - Christmas and New Year’s traditions and customs are very important!

Diverse, colorful and rich in symbols and meanings, these customs bring to the present glimpses of pre-Christian rituals and underline the predominant agrarian lifestyle from the past.

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.

Romanians see New Year as a time when they should be passing on their ancient traditions, cultures, customs, and heritage to the future generation. This defines the rigorous following of traditions. New Year’s Eve is attributed a great importance. It is reflected in the saying “Do not let the year find you… because this is how your next year will be !”

For example, if the New Year catches you with a dirty home this is how your home will be for the entire next year.

It brings bad luck to enter into the New Year without any money in your pocket;  it's good to have money (especially new bills) in each wallet so on New Year’s Eve everybody is stuffing their pockets with money to ensure a prosperous new year.

If you have debts when entering the new year, you'll have debts all that year.

Be as noisy as possible at midnight on New Year's Eve to ward off the evil spirits (bells, firecrackers, etc.).

It's advised to dress in red on New Year's Eve.

Don't cry on the first day of the New Year. Wear something new on January 1st and do not break anything on the first day of the new year.

If you have the patience to watch the three youtube videos of some ancient customs here at New Year
In the morning of the New Year’s Eve when groups of children go from house to house performing “Plugusorul” (the little plow). Equipped with bells and  whips, the children  sing  a traditional song,  featuring some agrarian or historical myths. The main message being  health wishes for the hosts and rich crops for the year to come. In the evening of the same day, groups of adults, dressed in traditional clothes and playing musical instruments, perform “Plugul” (the big plow), even bringing a plow with horses or bulls in more traditional villages.

The most colorful New Year’s Eve traditions are the mask-dances, magical ceremonials of death and rebirth, with a variety of representations from the animal world like goats, horses or bears, and fictional characters like the devil.

A most spectacular mask-dance is the “dance of the bear”, an iconic animal for  Romania's forests. Symbolizing the death and rebirth of the New Year, the dance of the bear brings to the scene intricate costumes. The dance is usually accompanied by  drums music  that dictates the rhythm of the performance.

Another representative mask-dance is the “goat”  telling the story of powerful magical practices. These  have the power of resurrecting the animal after it was charmed, another symbol of the death and rebirth of nature. Usually, the goat mask is carved from wood, covered in fur, with a jaw that moves up and down and has horns from a real goat. The body of the goat is made out of a colorful carpet.
Wishing all my friends, fans, followers and fellow authors  endless joy and a peaceful, awesome 2017! 
                 May it be better than 2016!
          Happy Writing and Reading!

10 comments:

  1. Hope you have a wonderful new year.

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    1. Thank you! From your mouth to God's ears!
      The same wishes to you, too!

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  2. I wish you a prosperous new year with new opportunities to succeed.

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    1. Thank you, Kayelle! The same for you and family!

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  3. I try not to be superstitious, but I do avoid washing clothes on New Year's Day. Legend says doing so will "wash away" one of your relatives (they'll die). But as I was saying to my mom last night, she has SO many siblings and nieces and nephews, chances are someone in the family did laundry yesterday!

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    1. Thank you for checking my post, Stephanie!
      The funny thing is that all these superstitions have a bit of explanation. As they say "There's no smoke without a fire".
      Anyway, thanks for sharing with me and followers another belief/tradition on New Year!

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  4. Carmen, I love the Romanian customs associated with New Year's. You have described them so colorfully. The mask dances are so interesting too. We always take care to set a good example on New Year's for the coming year, as you said, including eating our lucky black eyed peas and hog jowl and cabbage boiled with a dime. New Year blessings to you, prosperity, good health, happiness, and all other wonderful tidings.

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    1. Thank you, Flossie, for the wishes and blessings!
      I really, really need God's hand over me right now. I'm frightened as i experience some health issues.
      Wishing you a joyful, prosperous and full of health 2017, too!

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  5. Carmen, I loved this look at Romanian New Year's customs. I'm late in replying, but I wish you joy, prosperity and health in 2017, my friend. May your New Year be blessed!

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    1. Thank you for checking the post, Mae! Yes, they are old traditions but mostly now only in the villages.

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