Catholic Easter Traditions in Romania
Known as Pa?te in Romania, Easter is considered to be the most important religious day of the year, celebrated all over the country. Romanian Easter period begins with fasting, which begins with four to five weeks before. The Catholic Lent Fast is different from the Orthodox one as Catholics can eat anything but meat.
Christians are communicated with ostie (non-proofing bread) and they practice procession (procesiunea) meaning the encirclement of the church together with the priests. On Saturday, before the Resurrection, people take their baskets with painted eggs (preferable red), cake (cozonac), lamb meet and wine to be hallowed.
On Sunday morning, before breakfast, all family members wash their faces with water from a bowl in which they put a red egg and some money, symbols of health and wealth.
The most famous Catholic Easter tradition in our country is spraying, a habit that comes from Germany. First, spraying was made with water, but nowadays they use perfume; water sprinkle symbolizes purification. The custom originated in pre-Christian period is the symbol of life and fertility, and was practiced by several Germanic peoples.
In Transylvania, spraying was made even in noblemen’ families up to the end of 19th century, after which tradition was kept only in rural areas. For spraying, nowadays people use perfume instead of water. The tradition is that boys go to girls’ homes where they ask their parents for permission to ‘wet’ the girls, while they say a poem: I was in a green forest; I saw a violet blue, standing to fade. Do I have permission to spray it? Young men are rewarded with red eggs, wine and cakes.
In Mures, the third Easter day, after women are sprayed, the tradition tells that boys, too get to be sprinkled. They only get away if the weather is too cold.
Easter sprinkle custom was brought to Transylvania during the middle Ages by Saxons from Sibiu County.
Similar to Orthodox traditions, Catholics too gift away painted eggs or they tap the eggs to see which one has the strongest shell. The predominantly color for Easter eggs is red, but other colors like yellow, green or blue are also used.
In other areas in Transylvania, on Saturday, boys adorn fir trees with colored ribbons and by night they get into young unmarried girls’ yards and they hang trees to the door.
The most beautiful girls in the village get dozens of branches. Because the young girls stay up all night watching, they will know for sure who to reward the first or the second day of Easter.
Catholics in Romania take 7.6% after the Orthodox with 81.0%. Protestants (Reformed, Pentecostal, Baptist, Adventist, Unitarian, Lutheran and other Neo-protestant) occupies 6.2%.