Romania Celebrates Sânziene: A Night of Fairies and Traditions

Sânziene, also known as Drăgaica, the Midsummer Day, is a traditional Romanian holiday celebrated on June 24th. This ancient festival is deeply rooted in Romanian folklore and pagan rituals, marking the summer solstice and the birth of John the Baptist in the Christian calendar.

The name “Sânziene” comes from the gentle fairies believed to descend to earth on this night. These fairies are said to bring fertility and prosperity, and their presence is celebrated through various customs and rituals. One of the most prominent traditions is the gathering of sânziene flowers, yellow blossoms that are woven into crowns and worn by girls. These floral crowns are believed to possess magical properties, such as the ability to predict marriage prospects or ensure good health and fortune.

On the eve of Sânziene, people often light bonfires and dance around them, symbolizing the power of the sun and the light. This ritual is thought to ward off evil spirits and protect against misfortune. In some regions, it is customary for girls to place their flower crowns under their pillows, hoping to dream of their future husbands.

Another important aspect of the Sânziene celebration is the belief in the extraordinary power of nature on this night. Dew collected on the morning of Sânziene is considered to have healing properties, and many people wash their faces with it to ensure beauty and health. It is also a time when medicinal herbs are harvested, as they are believed to be most potent during this period.

Overall, Sânziene is a celebration of nature, fertility, and the mystical connection between the human and supernatural worlds. It is a time of joy, hope, and reverence for the ancient traditions that have been passed down through generations in Romania.

Ie/Romanian Blouse Day

On June 24 The Romanian Blouse Universal Day (Ziua Universala a Iei) is also celebrated. Ie Day is recognized by the Romanian state from 2022.

Since 2013, since the community “La blouse roumaine” proposed to honor and celebrate the traditional Romanian shirt, year after year, through the “Universal Day of Ie”, the celebration unites Romanians everywhere.

The first to bring the traditional ia to the public’s attention was the French painter Henry Matisse who was fascinated by the simplicity and elegance of the port. The painting that has remained the most famous is “La Blouse Roumaine”. Celebrities like Adele, Rita Wilson, Sophia Loren were caught dressed in Romanian blouses.

High-ranking names such as Tom Ford based his 2012 collection on the Romanian traditional motifs.

The celebration is held under the banner of the “Give Credit” campaign and under the title “A new beginning” after several top international fashion brand copied the “ie” model without giving credits.
The scandal started six years ago when the famous fashion house Dior was accused of copying the model of a cojoc from Bihor. Romanian dresses are also desired by Hollywood stars. Over the years, many fashion houses have been inspired by Romanian fashion.
The latest case of a famous fashion house using the Romanian ie models without giving credits is the involving Louis Vuitton.
The online community La Blouse roumaine was the one that noticed the use by the fashion house Louis Vuitton of a female shirt inspired by the traditional one from Mărginimea Sibiului. The Romanian traditional female shirt is called ie/ia.

Symbols, colors and motifs

The Romanian blouse, ie by its original Romanian name, is not a simple traditional peasant blouse, but it became a symbol of Romania, with its legends, stories and deep significance.

The ie (pronounced ee-eh) is a blouse, traditionally worn by Romanian girls and women. And it has overcome its traditional peasant confines, as it became an important source of inspiration for the fashion designers in Romania and abroad.

The ie is entirely hand-made from a special fabric called approx. in English ‘sheer lawn’, with exquisite embroideries on the chest, back and sleeves, with designs preserved for centuries.

The signs and symbols embroidered on the Romanian blouse aren’t just random decorations, but each has its own significance, depending on the region, the seamstress, and the person who wore it. Every ie, along with the other items of the traditional folk costume, has its own story.

Among the symbols embroidered on the blouse there is the tree or a tree-like design, which is the symbol of life, wisdom and rebirth.

The fir tree is particularly drawn on the Romanian blouse, especially in the mountain rural areas. The fir tree symbolizes the immortality, a motif seldom found in Romanian mythology.

The circle or a sunflower represents the sun, day or Divinity; In the Romanian tradition, the sun was at the core of life and was often associated with God and abundance.

Other motifs related to daily activities can be found ranging from one region to another: water (either as a river or as sea waves) and fish in the fishing villages along the rivers and sea coast, wheat or corn stems in agricultural villages, wheels or coin in crafting traders’ villages, and so on.

At the same time, the colors on the blouse also vary according to the geographic region. Green and gold symbolize the plains, gray, red and brown for the mountains and blue for the rivers.

For instance, in the past, young girls from the countryside, who were not married used to wear merry colors on their blouses, combinations of red, yellow, pink and light colors, while the dark ones- brown, black, dark green and gold were usually worn by older women, married and having a certain social statute.

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