Romanians to celebrate Easter this weekend. What are the most common Easter traditions preserved nowadays?

The Romanians are making preparations to celebrate the Orthodox Easter. Around 86 % out of 20 million people of Romanian population is Christian Orthodox. The Catholic Easter was marked last week.

Easter is a public holiday in Romania, with day offs for the population, and schools and most businesses closed, including today, the Good Friday.

Besides the well-known church services on Easter and the night of Easter when people go to church close to midnight to “take the Holy Light” to mark the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, other tradition is for people to hold family Easter dinners with special Easter dishes. Meals that are commonly on every Romanian’s Easter table are the painted eggs, lamb tripe, ‘pasca’ and cake (cozonac).

At midnight on the Resurrection Night, the priest lights the first candle and everyone make sure that every candle is lit. This is seen as symbolizing the act of taking the light from God and is an essential part of any Romanian Easter celebration. Easter candles that are used at a church mass/service are kept afterwards because they symbolize protection.

Among ancestral traditions, there is also the ones of cleaning the house and painting eggs before Easter, usually on Great Thursday.

In the Romanian countryside in the past, men, who were usually working, would stay home starting on this day and would take out the thrash, fix the fence, cut wood, bring water, butcher the lambs. Women were the ones that paint and decorate the eggs, do the laundry and generally clean the house.

In some parts of Romania, mainly in Bukovina, the north part, there is a tradition of coloring eggs using different geometrical and floral motifs. The process involves various paints and wax. The egg painting ritual is still preserved, but only a few people know the art of decorating the eggs. The eggs are painted starting on Thursday. Initially the only accepted color was red, but other colors were also permitted: yellow, green, blue and even black. In some villages the paint is still obtained from plants.

After the midnight mass service the family gathers for the first Easter meal. On the first day of Easter, there is customary for the whole family to wash in a bowl were they put red eggs and silver or gold money. The one who washes the last gets all the money. They believe the custom will make everybody healthy and prosperous.

In Transylvania there are some specific traditions, one of which, on the second day of Easter is splashing girls and women. The purpose is that they remain beautiful throughout the year. The groups of boys wander the village until late at night, thus no girl will remain ‘unsplashed’.

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