Romanian-American Network, Inc.
Romanian-American Network, Inc.
Romanian-American Network, Inc.
Romanian-American Network, Inc.

Romanian Traditions

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SPRING

Little March Amulet

Every year Romanian people knit two little tassels: a white one and a red one. At the beginning of March, they offer this amulet to the girls they love…

In Moldavia, part of Romania, all persons can receive a little March amulet. Red means love for everything that is beautiful and white symbolizes the pureness and health of the snowdrops, the first flowers that appear in spring.

That is the first celebration of spring in Romania.

The Legend of March Amulet

Once upon a time, the Sun embodying a handsome young man, got down from the sky to dance a “hora” in a village.

A dragon lay in wait for him and kidnapped him from among the people and threw him into a jail. The world got sad. The birds wouldn’t flow and the children wouldn’t laugh.

No one dared to challenge the bad dragon. But one day a brave young man decided to go and save the Sun. Lots of people saw him off and shared their strength with him. So they helped him defeat the dragon and save the Sun. His journey lasted for three seasons: summer, autumn and winter. He found the dragon’s castle and they started to fight. They fought for days and finally the dragon was killed.

Powerless and wounded, the young man set the Sun free. The Sun rose in the sky cheering up all the people and filling them with joy. The nature revived, the people got happy, but the young man couldn’t live to see spring coming. The warm blood from his wounds dropped on the snow. While the snow was melting white flowers, called snowdrops, messengers of the spring, were appearing out of the snow. Even his last drop of blood dripped out in the immaculate snow. And he died.

Since then the young people have been knitting two little tassels: a white one and a red one. At the beginning of March, they offer this amulet to the girls they love… Red means love for everything that is beautiful. It reminds us of the colour of the brave young man’s blood. White symbolizes the pureness and health of the snowdrops, the first flowers that appear in spring.

Maria Dumitru
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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Paparuda

The Paparuda "Rain Caller" is the ritual celebrated in Spring on a date that varies from place to place. An old magical dance invoking rain, this customs survived to the present day in many village of Romania.

The children knit coronets, adorning them with ribbons. Then they dance, going from house to house.

The hostess throws water and milk after them. The children and the young people have to receive a coin or wheat, corn, flour or bean.

A song having the following verses accompanies "The rainy-girls game": PAPARUDA

Datina are ca scop invocarea protectiei cerului asupra recoltelor. Copiii si tinerii împletesc cununi pe care le împodobesc cu panglici. Apoi danseazã si trec din casã în casã.

Stãpânii caselor aruncã dupã ei cu apã sau lapte. Copiii si tinerii trebuie sã primeascã un ban sau grâu, mãlai, fãinã sau fasole.

Jocul "paparudelor" este însotit de un cântec ale cãrui versuri sunt:

Paparudã, rudã,
Vino de ne udã,
Paparudã, rudã,
Vino de ne udã,
Ca sã-nceapã ploaie,
Sã curgã siroaie
Cu gãleata, leata,
Peste toatã zloata:
Unde dã cu maiul
Sã creascã mãlaiul,
Unde dã cu sapa
Sã curgã ca apa.
Hai, Catrino, sã sãrim,
Paparudele,
Sã stii iarna ce pãtim,
Paparudele.
Ca pasãrea prin copaci,
Paparudele,
Ploaie multã ca sã faci,
Paparudele,
Paparudã, rudã,
Vino de te udã,
Ca sã cazã ploile,
Cu gãletile,
Paparudele,
Sã dea porumburile
Cât gardurile,
Paparudele,
Si sã creascã spicele
Cât vrabiele,
Paparudele,
Sã sporeascã grânele,
Sã umple pãtulele,
Paparudele,
Sã deschize cerurile,
Paparudele,
Sã porneascã ploile,
Paparudele,
Si sã feresti holdele,
Paparudele.
De toate tãciunele,
Paparudele,
Din toate ogoarele,
Paparudele!

Cãtãlina Burgã
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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Despre luna Martie

Martie este a treia luna din an, conform calendarului Gregorian, cel mai utilizat pe glob in zilele noastre. Aceasta reprezenta inceputul anului, conform calendarului Iulian si era denumita Martius. Mai tarziu, romanii din antichitate au schimbat cu 1 Ianuarie inceputul anului, iar Martie a devenit a treia luna. Tot timpul, insa, ea a numarat 31 de zile. Numele sau il celebreaza pe Marte, zeul roman al razboiului.

Martie aduce primavara si sfarsitul iernii. Primavara in partea de nord a globului incepe cu echinoctiul de primavara, care este specific perioadei cuprinsa intre 19 si 21 martie. In aceste zile, centrul soarelui este direct perpendicular pe Ecuator. Luna martie poate fi totodata stapanita de vanturi dar si de caldura soarelui. Zilele racoroase pot sa apara la fel de frecvent precum cele blande si insorite.

In Emisfera Nordica multe animale isi termina perioada de hibernare, iar plantele revin la viata in timpul acestei luni. Copacii infloresc iar bobocii verzi incep sa rasara. Prima salcie plangatoare si florile salbatice pot fi gasite in paduri. Majoritatea broastelor isi depun ouale. Ursii treziti dupa hibernare isi parasesc culcusurile de iarna. Gastele si ratele salbatice isi incep zborul spre nord.

Martie este momentul in care oamenii incep sa caute primul ghiocel, ca semn al venirii primaverii cu adevarat.

Luna martie are numeroase sarbatori religioase sau zile nationale. Astfel ca, in Statul Nebraska se celebreaza pe data de 1 Martie admiterea in Statele Unite ale Americii; in Statul Texas se sarbatoreste pe 2 Martie independenta de Mexic; pe 4 Martie in Pennsylvania se comemoreaza garantarea cartei statului lui William Penn in 1681; irlandezii celebreaza pe 17 Martie sarbatoarea sfantului Patrick; in Maryland pe 25 Martie exista o aniversare a primilor colonisti din anul 1634; tot in martie are loc si festivalul evreiesc Purim, in a patrusprezecea zi a lui Adar, conform calendarului evreiesc; in Romania sarbatorim pe 1 Martie martisorul, pe 8 Martie ziua femeii, iar pe 9 Martie, conform calendarului ortodox, Sfintii Mucenici.

Simbolurile lunii martie sunt: violetele si acvamarinul.

Exista multe supersitii in ceea ce priveste luna martie. Auzim deseori ca "martie vine asemenea unui leu si pleaca precum un miel". Aceasta inseamna ca, primele zile din martie sunt aproape intotdeauna mai racoroase, mai capricioase, in vreme ce ultimele sunt calde si blande. O alta zicala spune ca "aprilie imprumuta de la martie trei zile, si toate sunt rele". Aceasta se refera la faptul ca primele trei zile din aprilie sunt asemanatoare lunii marite. O a treia credinta ne spune ca "primele trei zile din martie sunt zile oarbe" pentru ca sunt nenorocoase. Daca ploua in aceste zile, se presupune ca fermierii vor avea o recolta saraca.

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Despre mărtisor

An de an sarbatoarea de 1 Martie ne readuce speranta, optimismul, credinta în mai bine si spor la toate. Din înclestarea frigului cu razele soarelui, a întunericului cu lumina, dupa ultimele zvârcoliri din zilele babelor, învinge viata, primavara, soarele.

Acest triumf al reînvieri si regenerari nu putea fi invocat decât prim Martisor-pecare îl daruim celor dragi la 'cap de primavara'.

Snurul alb si rosu cu o amuleta(banut, o scoica) l legau parintii la mâna copiilor, îl daruiau flacaii fetelor, îl shimbau fetele între ele cu sens de urare de noroc, de sanatate ca 'argintul curat, ca piatra de râu, ca scoica din ape'.

Martisorul daruit în zorii primei zile din Martie se purta 9-12 zile, uneori chiar pâna la vederea primului pom înflorit, apoi se atârna de ramurile înflorite, crezându-se ca tot astfel va fi si anul celui care l-a purtat.

În Dobrogea martisorul se purta pâna sa venirea berzelor, apoi era aruncat spre analtul cerului ca norocul sa fie 'mare si înaripat'.

'Martisorul' era un dar ce-si trimiteau românii, unul altuia, în ziua de 1 Martie. Se constituia dintr-un banut de aur spânzurat de un gaietan de matase împletit cu fire albe si rosii, pe care persoana ce-l primea în dar îl purta la gât pâna când întâlnea cea dintâi roza înflorita, pe crengile careia depunea apoi darul primit.

Banutul însemna îmbelsugarea, firele albe si rosii ale gaietanului simbolizau fata alba ca crinul si rumena ca roza, iar ofranda facuta reginei florilor era o salutare poetica adresata primaverii.

În satele Transilvaniei Martisorul rosu-alb din lâna se agata la porti, ferestre, la coarnele animalelor, la strungile oilor, la tortile galetilor, pentru îndepartarea deochilui, a spiritelor malefice, pentru invocarea vietii, aputerii regeneratoare care se credea ca ar fi stimulata prin însasi 'culoarea vietii'.

Prima zi a lui Martie se numea în calendarul traditional al satelor carpatine si Drogobete, când fetele se spalau 'cu apa de omat' ca sa fie 'curate, frumoase, albe ca neaua'.

Bihorenii credeau ca însasi apa de ploaie adunata de 1 Martie sau din 'zilele babelor' te face frumos si sanatos, iar în Banat se îndatina ca fetele sa adune stropii de apa sau nea de pe frunzele fragilor din padure sa se spele pe obrajori rostind descântecul 'drogobetelui de dragoste':

'Floare de fraga/ Din luna lui Mart/La toata lumea sa fiu draga / Urâciunile sa le desparti'.

Folclorul roman s-a dezvoltat la confluenta a doua mari regiuni ale civilizatiei europene: vestul si sudul Europei. De-a lungul secolelor, romanii si-au cristalizat propria lor cultura. Aceasta cultura reprezinta nevoia de comunicare a omului cu natura si a omului cu alti oameni. Spiritualitatea romaneasca a fost in perfecta armonie cu pozitia geografica a tarii noastre si cu practicile populare ale romanilor.

Cultura romaneasca prezerva cu grija memoria stramosilor ei, astfel ca printre cele patru mituri importante ale romanilor il vom intalni alaturi de "Miorita" si pe cel al "Babei Dochia", ultimul fiind in stransa legatura cu data de 1 Martie si cu martisorul.

Romanii sarbatoresc venirea primaverii intr-un mod unic, la inceputul lunii martie.

1 Martie este in calendarul ortodox ziua Evdochiei, o femeie martir, numita si Dochia. Sarbatoarea este de fapt apriori timpurilor crestine, iar Dochia este un personaj pagan.

Traditia martisorului este o mostenire de la stramosii nostrii romani. Cuvantul "martisor" are origini latine si este numele popular al lunii martie.

Acest stravechi obicei al primaverii este specific poporului roman si isi are originea in credintele si practicile agrare. Sarbatoarea lui are loc in prima zi a lui martie, considerata ca prima luna a primaverii. La Roma, inceputul anului nou se sarbatorea la 1 martie, luna care purta numele zeului Marte, ocrotitor al campului si al turmelor, zeu care personifica renasterea naturii.

La vechii traci aceleasi atribute le avea zeul Marsyas Silen, considerat inventatorul fluierului, cultul sau fiind legat de glia materna si de vegetatie. Lui ii erau consacrate sarbatorile primaverii, ale florilor si fecunditatii naturii.

In multe sapaturi arheologice din Romania s-au gasit martisoare cu o vechime mai mare de opt mii de ani. Sub forma unor mici pietre de rau vopsite in alb si rosu, ele erau insirate pe ata si se purtau la gat. Culoarea rosie, data de foc, sange si soare, era atribuita vietii, deci femeii. In schimb, culoarea alba, conferita de limpezimea apelor, de albul norilor era specifica intelepciunii barbatului. De altfel snurul martisorului exprima impletirea inseparabila a celor doua principii ca o permanenta miscare a materiei. El semnifica schimbul de forte vitale care dau nastere viului, necurmatul ciclu al naturii. Culorile alb si rosu au ramas pana in zilele noastre ca simbol al sexelor, ele fiind regasite si la bradul de nunta si inmormantare.

Cand venea primavara, oamenii obisnuiau sa lege de copacii funii albe si rosii, cu scopul de a alunga duhurile rele. Aceasta masura de precautie era luata pentru a preintampina orice fel de posibil dezastru care s-ar fi putut abate asupra florilor copacilor si i-ar fi putut impiedica sa rodeasca.

La originile martisorului a stat o moneda de aur la care se atasa o sfoara facuta din doua parti rasucite, una rosie si alta alba, pe care copiii obisnuiau sa o poarte la gat. Exista credinta, conform careia, acesta amuleta aducea noroc si fericire. Fetele purtau martisorul pana cand infloreau copacii, moment in care, legau martisorul de trunchiul unui copac iar cu moneda isi cumparau branza, pentru a avea o fata alba si frumoasa tot anul.

Dupa un timp, margele frumos colorate au luat locul monedei. In unele parti ale tarii, martisorul este purtat la incheietura mainii, toata luna martie. Dupa care, inainte de rasaritul soarelui, fetele il innoada de trunchiul unui copac sau il pun intr-un arbust de trandafiri, cu convingerea ca toate dorintele lor se vor implini.

Simbolul snurului realizat din cele doua parti rasucite, una alba si cealalta rosie, a fost initial folosit de daci inainte ca romanii sa-i cucereasca. Pe acea vreme snurul era alcatuit din alte doua culori: alb si negru. Culoarea neagra reprezenta lana neagra data de Baba Dochia nurorii sale, si simboliza intunericul iernii. Partea alba simboliza lumina primaverii. Lana s-a schimbat, conform legendei, din negru in alb prin sacrificiul fetei. Din aceasta cauza partea rosie din martisor reprezinta sangele si sacrificiul. In final, primavara si martisorul vor fi mai puternici decat intunericul cu ajutorul lui Isus Cristos.

In zilele noastre, martisorul este un simbol al primaverii care va sa vina, iar realizarea lui a devenit o adevarata opera de arta. Oamenii ofera cu multa placere de 1 Martie martisoare celor pe care ii iubesc, ca simbol al admiratiei lor, ca respect si stima speciala pentru doamne si domnisoare.

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Baba Dochia

In Romania prima zi a primaverii este de neconceput fara imaginea Babei Dochia. Conform legendei, se spune ca batrana purta doisprezece sau noua cojoace, pe care a inceput sa si le scoata la inceputul lunii martie, fapt ce a provocat schimbari ale vremii. Zilele insorite au fost deseori urmate de ploaie si ocazional chiar de lapovita. Mitul ne spune de asemenea ca, Baba Dochia a avut trei momente speciale, marcate astfel: 1 martie: timpul dedicat insamantarii de primavara, 2 martie: ziua muncii de vara; 3 martie: reprezentand secerisul de toamna. In functie de modul in care evolueaza vremea in aceste trei zile, putem stii cu certitudine cum va fi timpul in cele trei anotimpuri amintite.

Putini, desigur, rezista tentatiei de a nu-si alege o "baba" in timpul primelor noua zile din martie, pentru ca, daca ziua aleasa este insorita, aceasta inseamna ca esti binecuvantat cu un suflet pur si bland si totul iti va merge bine intreg anul. Din contra, daca vremea este friguroasa si geroasa, cu vant si cu un cer innorat, atunci persoana in cauza va fi la randul ei cu inima "rece, neagra si inghetata".

Exista o alta parte a acestei legende legata de martisor, care ne spune ca, Baba Dochia obisnuia sa cutreiere peste dealuri si vai impreuna cu turma sa. Asemenea altor taranci din acea vreme, ea isi petrecea timpul torcand lana. La venirea primaverii, a facut o gaura intr-o moneda si a trecut prin aceasta o bucata de lana. In timp, diferite simboluri au inceput sa inlocuiasca moneda initiala. Astazi exista caini, elefanti, fluturi, semne zodiacale, mici inimioare, chei, masti, pitici, o intreaga lume in miniatura creata special pentru a simboliza venirea primaverii, alaturi de micile buchetele de violete, ghiocei, zambile si de fulgii de zapada care cateodata nu ne parasesc nici in martie.

Exista numeroase variante ale mitului Baba Dochia, toate interesante si toate la fel de frumoase. Astfel, se spune ca Baba Dochia a avut un fiu care s-a casatorit impotriva dorintei ei. Pentru a-si necaji nora, intr-o zi rece de iarna, i-a dat acesteia un ghem de lana neagra si a trimis-o la rau sa-l spele, spunandu-i sa nu se mai intoarca pana cand lana nu devine alba. Fata a incercat sa spele lana, dar chiar daca degetele sale au inceput sa sangereze, culoarea acesteia ramanea tot neagra. De disperare, pentru ca nu se putea intoarce acasa la sotul iubit, a inceput sa planga. Impresionat de durerea fetei, Domnul Isus Cristos i-a aparut in cale si i-a dat o floare rosie, spunandu-i sa spele lana cu ea. Acesta nu este un fapt neobisnuit, pentru ca, in legendele romanilor, Isus insotit de Sfantul Petre apar des in vietile oamenilor pentru a-i ajuta la nevoie. Multumindu-i, fata a pus floarea in apa, a spalat-o si a constatat cu uimire ca lana s-a albit. Fericita ca a reusit sa duca la bun sfarsit aceasta sarcina grea, si-a indreptat pasii spre casa, unde nu a fost primita cu bucurie de soacra sa, din contra, auzind povestea fetei aceasta a acuzat-o ca Martisor (asa ii spunea fata, deoarece nu-l recunoscuse pe Isus) era iubitul ei. Dupa aceasta intamplare, Dochia a pornit impreuna cu turma sa spre munte, fiind convinsa ca primavara venise deja, altfel de unde ar fi putut Martisor sa aiba floarea? Pe parcursul calatoriei sale, si-a scos, rand pe rand, cele doisprezece cojoace pe care le purta, pana cand a ramas fara nici unul. Dar vremea s-a schimbat. Pe cat de frumos fusese la inceputul zilei, pe atat de urat se facuse acum. Ningea si totul incepuse sa inghete. Fara alte vesminte cu care sa se incalzeasca, Dochia a inghetat impreuna cu oile sale, transformandu-se, conform legendei, in stana de piatra. Rocile se pot observa si astazi pe muntele Ceahlau si sunt o marturie vie a acestui mit romanesc.

Legenda ca tot, reprezinta de fapt, lupta dintre bine si rau, rosu si alb, dintre primavara si iarna, lupta din care, prin sacrificiu, binele triumfa intotdeauna. Cele doisprezece cojoace ale Dochiei reprezinta lunile anului, iar moartea ei, sfarsitul anului vechi. Acum poate sa inceapa noul an cu primavara, acest minunat anotimp!

Mitul "Dochia si Traian" reprezinta o alta varianta a legendei legate de numele Dochiei. Dupa cum spunea renumitul critic literar George Calinescu, acest mit este "rezultatul unei intregi experiente de o viata a poporului roman". "Dochia si Traian" povesteste despre formarea poporului roman: unirea dacilor cu romanii. In aceasta legenda, Dochia este frumoasa fata a conducatorului dacilor, Decebal. Dupa ce romanii au cucerit Dacia, Traian a dorit sa o ia de sotie pe fata regelui dac pentru ca dorea ca exemplul sau sa fie urmat de cat mai multi romani, asigurandu-se in felul acesta asimilarea populatiei dacice. Nefiind de acord cu propunerea liderului romanilor, Dochia s-a refugiat in munti. Pentru ca Traian nu s-a resemnat si a urmarit-o, fata a cerut ajutorul zeului dacilor Zamolxis, rugandu-l sa o transforme mai degraba in stana de piatra decat sa ajunga pe mana cotropitorilor. Zeul i-a indeplinit dorinta si a transformat-o in stana de piatra impreuna cu turma de oi care o insotea.

Pastoritul reprezinta o parte importanta a vietii romanilor, din cele mai vechi timpuri si pana in prezent. Majoritatea produselor facute pe baza de lapte sunt provenite de la oi. Lana se toarce si se fac din ea haine, paturi si carpete. Mielul este mancarea traditionala de Paste a romanilor. Modul de viata al pastorilor este surprins intr-un alt mit al poporului roman: "Miorita".

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Despre ziua mamei

Istoricii spun ca "Ziua Mamei" isi are originile in festivalul dedicat mamei zeilor Rhea, tinut in Grecia Antica. Zeita pamantului Rhea era sotia lui Cronos, zeul timpului si mama tuturor zeilor si zeitelor din Olimp. De asemenea, in Roma, Cybele mama zeilor era venerata inca din anii 250 IH. Sarbatoarea era cunoscuta sub denumirea de Hilaria si tinea trei zile, de pe data de 15 martie pana pe 18 martie.

In anii 1600, Anglia celebra o zi numita "Sambata Mamelor", in a patra sambata a postului Pastelui, pentru a cinsti mamele. In acele timpuri, multi oameni saraci lucrau ca servitori pentru bogatasi. Cum cea mai mare parte a slujbelor erau departe, acestia locuiau in casa stapanului lor. De Sambata Mamelor aveau permisiunea de a-si petrece ziua alaturi de cei dragi. O prajitura speciala se gatea pentru aceasta ocazie festiva.

Odata cu raspandirea religiei crestine pe glob, istoricii sunt de parere ca "Mama Biserica" a substituit cealalta sarbatoare "Mama Zeita". Multi spun ca ceremoniile care erau tinute in cinstea lui Cybele au fost adoptate de biserica pentru a venera pe Maria, mama lui Isus Cristos. Ele reprezentau puterea spirituala care ne-a dat viata si ne protejeaza de tot ceea ce este rau. In timp, cele doua sarbatori s-au amestecat si au devenit una singura "Ziua Mamei".

In Statele Unite ale Americii, sarbatoarea dedicata mamei, a fost pentru prima data propusa, in anul 1872, de catre Julia Ward Howe. Trebuia sa fie o zi dedicata pacii.

In anul 1907, Ana Jarvis, din Philadelphia, a inceput o campanie pentru a stabili ziua nationala a mamei. Jarvis a reusit sa convinga biserica din Grafton, din vestul Virginiei, sa celebreze "ziua mamei" in mai, cand comemora doi ani de la moartea mamei sale. Julia era foarte atasata de mama sa, Reese Jarvis, profesoara la Biserica Metodista din Grafton, Virginia de Vest. Astfel ca, atunci cand mama sa s-a stins din viata, impreuna cu sora sa oarba Elisinore, au incercat sa creeze o zi speciala dedicata mamelor. Simteau ca astfel copiii, care deseori isi neglijeaza de multe ori mama, sa realizeze ca trebuie sa-i acorde dragostea cuvenita cand inca aceasta mai este in viata. Erau de parere ca o zi dedicata mamei ar creste respectul pentru parinti si va uni mai mult familiile.

Jarvis si sustinatorii ei au inceput sa scrie ministrilor, oamenilor de afaceri si politicienilor explicandu-le dorinta lor de a stabili o zi nationala a mamei. Ca rezultat al eforturilor lor prima zi a mamei a fost tinuta pe data de 10 mai 1908. Garoafele au devenit simbolul acestei zile, fiind florile favorite ale fostei doamne Reese Jarvis. In zilele noastre garoafa rosie este simbolul unei mame inca in viata, in timp ce garoafa alba comemoreaza pierderea ei.

Prima proclamatie a "Zilei Mamei" a fost citita de guvernatorul statului Virginia de Vest, in anul 1910. Oklahoma a celebrat de asemenea aceasta zi, in acelasi an. Pana in urmatorul an, "Ziua mamei" s-a celebrat in toate statele.

Presedintele Woodrow Wilson, a facut in anul 1914 un anunt oficial proclamand "Ziua mamei" ca zi de sarbatoare nationala in a doua duminica din luna mai.

Pe 12 decembrie 1912 a luat fiinta Asociatia Internationala pentru Ziua Mamei.

Astazi multe tari din lume isi aniverseaza ziua mamei, la momente diferite, dar exista tari ca: Danemarca, Finlanda, Italia, Turcia, Australia si Belgia care-si celebreaza de asemenea ziua mamei in aceeasi zi cu Statele Unite.

Dupa "Martisorul în traditia româneasca", Dr. Maria Bocse

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SUMMER

Caloianul, Romanian Rainmaker

"Caloianul" is a figure used in Romanian village rite rainmaker. He looks like a man and it is adorned with flowers.

On summer time, women and children from the dryness regions gather and model this "Caloian". They invoke the rain and her advantages through the procession they will take part. Everybody gather then at the border of the village. They also can invite the priest of the village and together they adorn a young tree. They use fresh fruit pretzels and candies. After that all group simulate the funeral of the "Caloian". First they walk this one on the dry fields. In the end they bury the "Caloian" throwing" it into a river. The waters of the river must carry it far away, bringing thus rains.

All the procession times, the children and women cry and mourn. The priest tells prayers for the invoker of the rain.

In other Romanian regions dancing and singing accompany this ritual. For several times the invoked rain is appearing even at day or two after this ritual. On popular belief it is said that only the "Caloian" has unfastened the rains.

Caloianul este un obiect de ritual folcloric în forma unui om de lut împodobit cu flori, care, în timp de secetã se îngroapã sau se aruncã în apã ca sã aducã ploaia.

Vara, femeile si copiii din zonele afectate de secetã se grupeazã si modeleazã acest obiect.

Ei invocã ploaia si binefacerile ei prin procesiunea la care vor lua parte. Toti participantii se adunã apoi la marginea satului. Ei pot invita chiar si preotul satului cu care împodobesc un copac tânãr, folosind fructe proapete, covrigi si bomboane.

Dupã aceea, tot grupul simuleazã înmormântarea caloianului. Mai întâi, ei îl plimbã pe acesta pe câmpiile secetoase. La finalul acesteia, ei îl înmormânteazã, aruncându-l într-un râu. Apele acestuia trebuie sã-l poarte departe, pentru a aduce ploile. Pe durata procesiunii copiii si femeile plâng si jelesc. Preotul spune rugãciuni pentru invocarea ploii.

Ïn alte zone ale României ritualul acesta este însotit de cântec si dans. De cele mai multe ori, ploaia invocatã se aratã chiar la o zi sau douã.

Rãzvan Bratosin
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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Drãgaica

This very ancient agrarian custom is connected with the harvest, still survives sporadically in certain villages in the south of Romania.

The learned prince Dimitrie Cantemir described it for the first time in his famous work "Descriptio Moldaviae", written about 1715.

The "Drãgaicas" are little girls of 11 to 12 years old, adorned with ears of corn. One of them is dressed as a bride and another one is dressed as a boy named "Draganu". Sometimes Draganu is a boy. He holds the banner of the "Drãgaicas": a pole with a rag-doll with outstretched arms, made of ears of corn or of a bunch of ears and with wormwood and garlic at its top.

The "Drãgaicas" sing and dance in a circle without holding hands. At intervals they whirl round and yell and the Dragan, the boy, whistles on an ordinary whistle. Wishing to amplify the performance, the little girls have added to the original ritual dance other dances borrowed from the grown up dancer. A flute-player or a piper who accompany them plays the music.

Raluca Antonache
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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AUTUMN

The International Festival of Vineyard and Wine

Vrancea region is the first wine reservoir of Romania and that was the reason for establish in 1992 a representative manifestation, designed to help exhibitors take advantage of the opportunities created by changes in market conditions.

The competition has become increasingly popular each edition, over 252 sorts of wine from 28 producers competed in 1996.

In the framework of this festival there are several sections such as "The Show Room of Vineyard and Wine", "Specialized information session for wine producing and viticulture activities" and "Cultural events with vineyard theme" - painting exhibitions, folk concerts, launching of books, poetry and limericks contest.

During the past years, the Festival increased and developed, so that in our days it became a representative manifestation for Vrancea.

Hold on the middle of fall, last decade of October, this event is a unique opportunity to compare wines from around Europe combined with the facilities for tasting that the organizers offers.

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WINTER

Romanian Winter Customs - Introduction

At the winter festivals, an abundance of customs accompanied by music are displayed. These customs, as varied as they are interesting, appear to have been inherited in the main from the ancestors of the Romanian people.

It is well known that the peoples of antiquity living in the regions of Romania celebrated the winter solstice, "the birthday of the invincible Sun", with songs and dances, with greetings, presents and wishes of prosperity. Later on, the feasts of the Christian Christmas were established at this very period of the year. The struggle of the clergy, to abolish the pagan customs and to replace them by new ones, corresponding to the canons of the Church has been particularly strenuous and to a great extent doomed to failure. "The unlawful" and "diabolical songs", as the Lutheran pastor Andreas Mathesius of Cerghiul Mic, near Blaj, called the Romanian carols more than three centuries ago, have proved stronger. The church has succeeded in smuggling in and adopting a series of songs (Cantece de Stea- Star-songs) and sundry "Vershuri" (occasional songs with religious texts) as well as the nativity play (The Magi, The Herods, or the Bethlehem) but it has not been able at all to suppress the pre-Christian pagan customs.

These customs begin on Christmas Eve or the day before, and last till Epiphany. The most important of them is that known by the name of "colindat" (carolling). By these customs, groups of "colindatori" -carollers- go from house to house and sing at the windows or in the houses, according to a variable ceremonial, ancient songs of greeting, called "colinde" (carols). These carols are song by boys, youth girls, adults or mixed groups, according to the region of the country.

The texts of these carols may be either profane or religious in content. The profane ones tell about the contest between the hors and the hawk, about the incredibly large dowry required of the marriageable maiden, a dowry to which the wooers renounce on seeing, the beauty of the girl and being convinced of her industry; about the nine sons of the hunter turned into deer etc. The "religious" carols contain popular legends of God end they are of ten imbued with pagan elements. God and the Saints are personified: God as an old shepherd with a white beard, playing the flute as he watches a flock of sheep; Got and St. Peter dressed as beggars are driven out of the house of the rich, and the apocryphal content of the latter has determined the churchmen to try to remove them.

The Star-songs, whose poetical contents is inspired by the Scriptures, were created to that end. Poor in artistic images, they differ from the genuine folk creations both in language and style. Their melodies and rhythms draw them nearer to the pious Christmas hymns of the West. Here and there, as in the western part of Oltenia for instance, the texts of the Star- songs appear to have borrowed ancient carol melodies. Persistently diffused by the Church and old time schools, the star-songs have achieved a certain popularity. They are, as a rule, sung by children carrying a paper star painted and sometimes illuminated from within. In Transilvania these songs also given the name of "colinde" and are sung together with the authentic folk "colinde". This blending of creations pertaining to two different cultures have much contributed to the false conception which certain people still have of the "colinde", considering them as a whole to be religious, mystical, etc.
The aim of the carols is to greet and to praise in an allegoric way those to whom they are sung. Hence their specialisation, here and there, into carols for a young man, for a young girl, for a newlywed couple, for a shepherd, for a hunter, for a fisherman, etc.

Reaming the village from house to house, the carollers of Dobica, Hunedoara, part of Romania, play on flute and drum the "Song of the drum". On this melody is superimposed a carol for a young man, which the carollers sing as they march.
The "Dube" (drums) also accompany certain carols from the village of Almas, Saliste. The poem tells gracefully of a young shepherdess who wanted to pluck a flower in bud. The flower advises her to wait till it blossomed, to adorn herself with it and to dance the "hora" with it: as its petals will be scattered and tossed about by the winds so will her beloved be tossed about by his thoughts of her.

The luck –visit of the plough, “plugusor” (little plough) is a very ancient fertility rite performed in Wallachia and Moldavia on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. A long recitation in verse representing allegorically the whole work of the field, from the ploughing to the kneading and baking of rolls of pure cornflower is intoned against a background of sounds produced by the bellowing of a friction drum called bull ("buhai"). Also it is added sometimes the melody of flute or other musical instruments:

Our plough works wonders
It has four or five coulters
Sharpened, tempered
Sharp and cutting,
Never sleeping
And where it passes it leaves
A soft and fertile furrow;
And where it furrows!
The field laughs and blooms!…

Among the masked dances performed during the winter feast, the most remarkable is “Capra” (Goat), emblem of fecundity. This custom, whose magical significance has become lost during the course of time, consists of the dance of a masked man generally representing a goat or a stag. The muzzle of the mask is made of two pieces of wood covered with hare-skin.

Many of the midwinter musical customs nowadays find excellent means of diffusion through the activities of organized artistic groups, whether amateur or professional.

Raluca Antonache
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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Saint Nicholas Day

The old Saint Nicholas arrives in Romania on the 6th of December, every year. His coming announces the beginning of the winter holidays, the Christmas and the New Year.

Saint Nicholas is generous not only with the children, but the adults, too.

On the evening of the 5th of December, the boots are being happily polished in every home. People usually put the boots near the entrance door, waiting for the presents.

Saint Nicholas takes care of each member of the family. He puts a little present into every one's boots.

But who is Saint Nicholas? The parents, of course.

And who is the one who puts presents in the parents' boots? The rest of family.

This custom is very old in Romania, and Saint Nicholas Day is one of the most important festivals of the year, especially for the children.

All that is known of Nicholas is that he was Bishop of Myra in Asia Minor during the 4th century. Legend tells how a noble but poor man was thinking of prostituting his three daughters because he was unable to provide them with a dowry. Nicholas threw three golden balls or bags of gold through the window of their house and withdrew unseen, thereby saving them from their fate.

Once, seamen threatened by a violent storm invoked Nicholas, and he appeared, and assisted them with the rigging until the storm died down.

When famine spread through his bishopric, Nicholas learned that several ships were anchored in the harbour laden with grain. The saint promised the fearful sailors that if they gave the grain to his starving people, the customs men would not find their cargo short. Nicholas was also said to have saved three soldiers from decapitation; had an innocent prince released from prison; and brought to life three children hidden in a brine tub who had been murdered by their innkeeper father to feed to his guest during a plague.

He is patron saint of sailors and of children, and also the origin of Father Christmas- Santa Claus being a derivative of St Nicholas- an identification probably derived from his patronage of children and his charitable acts of presenting gifts by night.

Petru Dumitru

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Goat Tradition (Umblatul cu capra)

This custom lasts from Christmas until New Year. The masks of only one animal, whose name varies from a region to another, replace many times the biblical characters: stag in Hunedoara, goat or "turcã" in Moldavia and Ardeal, "boritã" in South Transylvania.

This custom is also called "brezaia" in Wallachia and Oltenia, because of the multicoloured appearance of the mask. A noisy children group accompanies the mask.

The goat jumps, jerks, turns round, and bends, clattering regularly the wooden jaws.

In town, this show is to be remarked by its originality of the costumes and of the choreography.

Acest obicei tine, de regulã, de la Crãciun pânã la Anul Nou. Mãstile care evocã la Vicleim personaje biblice sunt înlocuite aici de masca unui singur animal, al cãrui nume variazã de la o regiune la alta: cerb în Hunedoara, caprã sau turcã în Moldova si Ardeal, boritã (de la bour) în Transilvania de sud etc. În Muntenia si Oltenia, capra e denumitã brezaia (din cauza înfãtisãrii pestrite a mãstii) si obiceiul se practicã mai ales de Anul Nou. Masca este însotitã de o ceatã zgomotoasã de copii, cu nelipsitii lãutari ce acompaniazã dansul caprei. Capra saltã si se smuceste, se roteste si se apleacã, clãmpãnind ritmic din fãlcile de lemn. La oras, spectacolul se remarcã mai ales prin originalitatea costumului si a coregrafiei.

Gabriela Brancovici
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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Carols (Colindele)

The most important custom during winter festivals is the carol.

On Christmas' Eve only children go caroling. This custom is different from the proper caroling, where only the grown-ups participate. After the 23/24 midnight of December the children go caroling from one house to another. They get sweets, fruit and even money. In some parts of the country there is a custom named "Icon walking" that symbolizes Jesus birth.

The real caroling happens on Christmas evening and night. The waits -young and mature people - gather in well-organized groups and they choose a leader. When they are in the yard of a house they perform their repertory to the host. The songs are always accompanied by dance. When they are over the host invites the waits in the house for a special meal and presents.

"Do you receive the pretty star,
Pretty and so very bright?
It has appeared on the Earth
Just like God thought it would be right,
And it could be seen on high,
Just like me did, in the sky."

Before the "Star Carols" on the Christmas Eve, children used to sing the following introduction:

"Good morning, Christmas Eve,
Do you give us some gifts, do you?"

The host was giving them nuts, apples, pears, and even coins. The children also sing a carol related to the "myth of the eternal return:

"Great' the night of present night
And it's not the present night
But the night of Christmas Eve,
Christmas Eve of the old times
When the Holy Son was born,
Holy Son on this good Earth…"
"Rain is warm and bathes Him,
Snow keeps falling, doesn't touch Him…"

The Romanian carols have an inner universe in which it can depict one of the Romanian nation's spiritual dimensions, its insight into time and space.

Obiceiul cel mai important din apropierea Crãciunului este colindul.

În ajunul Crãciunului colindãtorii sunt copii. Acest obicei se deosebeste astfel de colindatul propriu-zis, la care participã doar tinerii si oamenii maturi. Dupã miezul noptii de 23/24 decembrie, copiii colindã din casã în casã. Ei primesc ca daruri dulciuri, fructe si chiar bani. În unele pãrti ale tãrii existã un obicei numit "Umblatul cu icoana", care semnificã nasterea lui Iisus. Adevãratul colindat se desfãsoarã în seara si noaptea de Crãciun. Colindãtorii -tineri si oameni maturi- se adunã în cete bine organizate si îsi aleg un conducãtor. Odatã intrati în curte acestia îsi deapãnã repertoriul gazdelor.

Cântecele sunt întotdeauna însotite de dansuri. Când ele au luat sfârsit gazda îsi invitã colindãtorii în casã pentru un ospãt si daruri.


Oana Sãcãlus
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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The Christmas Night in Romania

Every year on the 25th of December it's Christmas, a special day in our life, a time for families to be together and enjoy each other's company.

Yesterday, we repeated some Romanian corals for Christmas Eve. First of this celebration is the firtree's decoration with globes painted in many colours. We also decorate all our rooms with firtree branches.

A Christmas midnight! Santa Claus is coming! Under the fir-tree you can find so many presents: it maybe a new computer or maybe a new car why not a Barbie doll?...

Our parents will be smiling then. But, what are our best presents for them?

That will be our respect and the acceptance their role as our teachers for life and respect for all the people in the World. If Santa Claus ask us to look carefully inside our heart and give an answer: What are our biggest wants right now?

We need more security in our life, more food for all the hungry people, peace and every winter day could be Christmas. So, we will light candles and everybody will open his presents. During the night we will eat traditional Romanian Christmas food: force-meal rolls in cabbage or in vine leaves, sausages, blood pudding and cozonac (a Romanian Christmas cake).

We hope everyone enjoys the Christmas the same. A very good Christmas this year and forever!

Mariuca Dumitru, Andrei & Raluca Antonache
School No. 10 Focsani
ROMANIA

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Table Custom (Obiceiul mesei)

Another custom that is still alive in the countryside is called "The Table" and it is performed on Saint Vasile's Day.

A group of four boys and girls gather together round of a table. On each corner of it is placed one of the following four objects: a coin, a slice of corn musk, a mirror and piece of coal. The participants know the meaning of the four objects, but they don't know where placed are because the objects are covered by a tablecloth.

The children have to choose one table corner. He/ She who will find the coin will gain money. He/ She who will find the corn musk will have food. He who will find the mirror will have a beautiful face and a pure and noble soul. The fourth will be unlucky because he/ she finds the piece of coal.

Un alt obicei care încã se mai practicã în zilele noastre la tarã se numeste "Masa" si are loc în ziua de Sf. Vasile.

Un grup de 4 bãieti si fete se adunã în jurul unei mese. La fiecare colt al acesteia sunt asezate fiecare din urmãtoarele patru obiecte: o monedã, o bucatã de mãmãligã, o oglindã si o bucatã de cãrbune. Participantii cunosc semnificatia fiecãrui obiect, dar ei nu stiu unde sunt asezate acestea, pentru cã obiectele sunt acoperite de o fatã de masã.

Copiii trebuie sã aleagã câte unul din cele patru colturi. Cel care va nimeri moneda va câstiga o sumã de bani, se spune. Cel care va gãsi mãmãliga se spune cã va avea mâncare. Cel care va gãsi oglinda va avea o fatã frumoasã, un suflet nobil si pur. Ultimul, cel care va gãsi cãrbunele, nu va avea noroc în anul care abia a început.

George Antonache
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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Bridges' Custom (Obiceiul puntilor)

On the first day of the New Year children from our region are involved in a special ritual.

That is the most spread ritual used for future prediction. Children, junior girls and boys, make a "bridge" of a small branch in a pitchfork shape. A stick is placed across between the two rides of the branch. It symbolizes a connection between the old and New Year. Each child should have her/his run bridge. She/ He may dream on the first New Year night her/his destiny.

În prima zi a Anului Nou, copiii din zona noastrã participã la un ritual de citire a viitorului, numit "Obiceiul puntilor". Este probabil cel mai rãspândit ritual din primele zile ale anului.

Copiii mai mari, fete si bãieti fac o punte din douã crãci în formã de furcã. Între ramuri se asazã un bãt. Puntea simbolizeazã un "pod" aruncat între cei doi ani, cel care a trecut si cel care a venit. Fiecare fatã trebuie sã aibã propria ei punte ca sã poatã visa noaptea ce i-a fost hãrãzit sã i se întâmple în noul an.

George Antonache
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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Nativity Drama (Vicleimul)

Played from Christmas to Epiphany, Nativity Drama is a form of folk theatre, which represents the birth of Jesus. Inspired by clerical literature from the bible texts, Nativity Drama keeps the hints from the traditional carol. Other forms of folk theatre developed on outlaws' stories, structure, which circulated in different regions of our country.

A fight between the old and the New Year often precedes the show, and in the end of it is a carol.

Jucat de la Crãciun pânã la Boboteazã, Vicleimul este o formã de teatru popular care înfãtiseazã nasterea lui Iisus. Inspirat din literatura bisericeascã creatã pe marginea textelor biblice, Vicleimul pãstreazã urme din colindatul cu mãsti. Alte forme de teatru popular s-au dezvoltat pe structura povestilor cu haiduci care circulã în diferite zone ale tãrii. Spectacolul este adesea precedat de o ceartã între anul vechi si anul nou, iar sfârsitul sãu ia forma unei urãri.

Dana Alina Iliescu
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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Little Plough (Plugusorul)

"Plugusorul" is a small plough but in Romanian folklore is a traditional procession with a decorated plough, on New Years' Day.

This is a well wishing for the field bearing on New' Years Day. This custom arises from "Carmen arvale", a wish from the Romans from the protection of the crops. The ploughmen are teenagers and children having whip, bells and pipes in the hands.

Their noises accompany the well wishing.

Cristina Mihu
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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Sorcova

"Sorcova" is a bouquet used for New Year's wishes. Children wish to the people a happy New Year while touching them lightly with this bouquet.

The children invoke the divinity of vegetation for the health and wealth of the host in the morning of the first day of the New Year.

"Sorcova" is a symbol of fertility, health and purity. The children touch everybody with "sorcova", wishing them to blossom like apple-tree and pear-tree, to live and grove old like these and to be as strong as a stone or as iron, getting all kinds of gifts.

Maria Dumitru
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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Christmas Star (Steaua)

Children make a star using coloured paper and then they put in its middle a Jesus icon. Many of children decorate their star using tinsel.

The Star Carol is a tradition during the 3 days of Romanian Christmas. It announces the Jesus born. The children sing holding the star in the hand.

"The star has appeared on high,
Like a big secret in the sky,
The star is bright,
May all your wishes turn out right…"

Maria Dumitru
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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Bear Custom (Umblatul cu ursul)

This custom is known only in Moldavia, part of Romania, on the Christmas Eve.

The bear was embodied by a young man wearing the coat of a killed animal that was adorned with red tassels on its ears on his head and shoulders.

Sometimes, the mask used to be made in a common way: the bear's head was made of wood skeleton covered with a coat and its body of a rough cover, adorned in such a way so it might suggest its characteristic brown threads.

The mask was accompanied by a young man wearing a bear coat and by fiddlers and followed by a whole procession of characters, among a child as a bear's cub might be.

Roused by the young man wearing the bear's coat who sang:

"Dance well, you old bear, / Because I give bread and olives." the mask grumbled and imitated the jerky steps of the bear, striking violently against the earth with his soles, while the drums and the pipe were playing.

Aceastã datinã e întâlnitã doar în Moldova, de Anul Nou.

Ursul era întruchipat de un flãcãu, purtând pe cap si umeri blana unui animal ucis, împodobitã în dreptul urechilor cu ciucuri rosii. Alteori, masca era mai simplã: capul ursului se confectioneazã dintr-un schelet de lemn acoperit cu o blanã, iar trupul dintr-o pânzã solidã, astfel ornatã încât sã sugereze perii maronii caracteristici.

Masca era condusã de un "ursar", însotitã de muzicanti si urmatã adesea de un întreg alai de personaje- printre care se aflã si un copil în rolul "puiului de urs". Atâtat de ursar:

"Joacã bine, mãi Martine,/ Ca-ti dau pâine cu mãsline..." în rãpãitul tobelor sau pe melodia fluierului, tinându-si echilibrul cu ajutorul unui ciomag, masca mormãie si imitã pasii legãnati si sacadati ai ursului, izbind puternic pãmântul cu tãlpile.

Cristina Mihu
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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Other Traditions

Burial

The ceremonies connected with death and burial seem to be the best -preserved of Romanian folk customs. In the north of Moldavia and of Transilvania, death is announced to the village by the sound of alphorns. Two - seldom one - sometimes four and even six alphorn players accompany the funeral procession and blow signals called: About the dead, Following the dead, For the dead, The accompanying of the dead or "The Hora of the dead", especially for young people and sometimes for shepherds only.
The alphorn is blown in the dead man's yard, at early dawn, at noon, in the evening and sometimes at night during the wake; likewise on the way to the churchyard, over the grave, after the coffin has been covered with earth. The calls played for the dead are different from the pastoral ones: "as for the dead, "more doleful."

An extensive zone in the west of the country, comprising the north of Oltenia, the Banat and the neighbouring Hunedoara knows a series of ceremonial funeral songs, which are sung by experienced women appointed to the task, who must not be close relations of the dead person. The songs are sung at certain moments of the burial, with a strict observance of the unwritten laws of tradition. Foremost among these songs in the " Song of the Dawn" which announces the death to the village at early dawn. Their faces turned eastwards, sometimes with lighted candles in their hands, the group of women implore the dawn to delay its coming until" the sweet wanderer" will get everything and needs ready for the long journey he undertakes:

From the land of yearning
To that without yearning
From the land of pity
To that without pity!

Another important ceremonial funeral song is "Cântecul bradului, Al cetinii sau Al sulitii" ("The Song of the Pine", "Of the pine needles" or "Of the spear"). This is sung for those that died young and unmarried, for the fir-tree brought from the wood and decorated represents the wedding fir-tree. The poetical text contains the lament of the fir-tree who complains that if was made to believe it would be used in the building of a house, when in fact it will be left to wither at the head of the grave.

It is also knows other songs such as "La fereastra" (At the window), "Al drumului" (Of the way), "De petrecut" (For the accompanying), "Al gropii" (Of the grave) and others. They comprise instructions for the dead person, for the way he must take; he is advised to make friends with the otter who knows about the waters and the fords, and with the wolf who knows the secret pathways of the forests. In these songs " Samodiva" is mentioned who notes down with red ink the living and with black ink the dead. They tell about the quarrel of the cuckoo with Death, and so on. The poems of these ancient "songs of the dead" are often of rare beauty.

But the most important burial songs are the “bocete” (dirges), known all over the country. Sung by female relations and close friends of dead, they are “a melodic overflow of sorrow” at the dead person’s bedside, in the yard, on the road, in the church-yard during the burial and subsequently on certain dates destined for the commemoration of the dead. The texts of the dirges, besides expressing the sorrow of those left behind, often contain elements with a powerful social content, which are echoes character of folklore is obvious at every step, both in the dirges for the orphan children and regret at separation from “the love of the world” are but a few of the topics of these moving songs.

Cãtãlina Burgã, Oana Sãcãlus, Otilia Stanciu
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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The Dance of the Cãlusari (Jocul cãlusarilor)

For the invocation of fertility, but also with an aim of the healing of certain diseases, the "Cãlusari", "Cãlusul", or "jocul cãlusarilor" (the dance of the Cãlusari) is danced at Whitsuntide. It was also described for the first time by Dimitrie Cantemir, and known in olden times in all the regions of Romania. It has completely disappeared in Moldavia but not without leaving certain traces in some men's dances of the region, while in Transylvania and the Banat, it was put aside and replaced by a drawing-room dance. On the other hand, in Oltenia, Wallachia and in the certain parts of Dobrogea, the old dance of the "Cãlusari" was preserved in fairly well knit forms. Generally the custom has the following aspect: after having bound themselves by oath to dance together for a certain numbers of years and to respect the discipline imposed by tradition, the dancers begin their rehearsals. The team, under leadership of a captain, is generally composed of an old number of dancers. One of them, " (the dumb man), is masked. He is nowadays the buffoon of the troup, but it seems that formerly he had a much more important role. The Cãlusari wear a special festive costume and hold sticks, while the ''mut'' carries a sword in his hand. According to Dimitrie Cantemir, in his time all the Cãlusari held swords. The troup carriers a banner: a pole adorned with coloured ribbons and a bunch of wormwood and garlic at its top, healing herbs sought by the onlookers. The dance of the "Cãlus'' is performed during a whole week, White week or "Calus_week" as it is also called, during which the team also visits some neighbouring localities. The dance composed of a circular promenade of the dancers, which alternates with more and more intricate figures, has special dynamic and is extremely spectacular. In the course of time this dance seems to have absorbed into itself several other ritual dances- war dances, fertility, healing dances, hence its complex character.

Of recent years, the dance of the Cãlusari, relieved of its former magic function, has been taken over and turned to account by a number of amateur and professional artistic teams, sometimes with resounding success in performances.

Mãdãlin Chiricutã, Ionut Trif, Cosmin Tãnase
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania

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Wedding

Weddings also preserve various traditions.

The songs are performed by musicians and even by the wedding guests themselves. A varied melody, sometimes even with a varied text, is "A miresei" (To the bride), sung either at the solemn moment when the bride takes leave of her parents and her home, or when she changes her maiden head-gear for that of a wife. Her leave-taking of her former life, the description of her life in her parents' house in comparison with that in her parents-in-law's, the change from appeal to the sun a to lengthen the day, the sorrow of the mother's who loses her daughter, and the joy of the mother-in-law who acquires her as daughter-in-law, the comparison of the maidens with apples on a branch: when they ripen their number lessens; these are the topics most often encountered in the songs for the bride.

Three times round the table is a dance. This dance was formerly meant to drive away evil from the house of the young couple. A humorous addition to the traditional ritual cries- among other jocular ones- gives a quite different meaning:

Three times round the table
For the evil to go out
For the good to come in
For the young couple to live...
Like cat and dog!

On account of the profoundly worldly content of the marriage ceremony, folk customs connected with weddings are particularly subject to transformations and borrowings from outside.

Cãtãlina Iordan, Alina Micu- Mihai, Liviu Buftea
“Duiliu Zamfirescu” School, Focsani
Romania