Maramures holds tight on its Christmas customs and traditions

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Maramures is a wonderful region in Northern Romania where winters are rich in snow and local culture is unique and has been preserved for centuries.

Christmas traditions are very much alive in Maramures, where customs are still well preserved not only in the villages, but in towns as well. Starting from the youngest child to the oldest person, everybody attends Christmas preparations.

On Christmas, in Maramures, lights never go out and the carol singers walk over every house. On Christmas Eve, in villages, children are the first to go wassailing and they get instead coils (the symbol of the sun), nuts (nut is associated to the cosmic egg), apples (apple is the fruit of knowledge), and now, increasingly often they are given money.

Christmas superstitions are often found in Maramures:

  • One can never broom on Christmas day, do the laundry or give things away;
  • In some areas they say winter will be long and glacial if the animals rest on the left side in the Christmas Eve.
  • There is also the belief that those who cry on Christmas Eve will cry the next year, too.
  • They believe that on Christmas Eve at midnight, water turns into wine and animals start talking.
  • If you dream of green wheat before Christmas it’s a good sign, so the year to come will be a wealthy one.
  • On Christmas Eve children have to eat pumpkin so they grow strong.

On the night of 23 to 24 December, until after midnight and in some places up to the next day, groups of children go from house to house singing carols: ‘Mos-Ajun’, ‘Buna-dimineata’, ‘Colindisul’ or ‘Buna-dimineata la Mos-Ajun’. On the very first day of Christmas children go from house to house singing carols, announcing the birth of Jesus.

‘Vicleimul’, ‘Irozii’, ‘Capra’, ‘Turca’, ‘Brezaia’ are also part of Christmas and New Year’s traditions.

The carol has acquired a specific purpose as a benefic form of magic marking the richness of the fields, the growth of animals, the evolution of children, the marriage of the young couples, the peace and quiet of the elders, influencing the lives of people and nature in a positive way.

Unique custom of Baia Mare’s Ferneziu district, Maramures

‘Adam’ s Tree’ is a unique and peculiar custom in Maramures and only the young men from Ferneziu, Baia Mare get to play it.  It’s a religious sketch like ‘Irodul’ and ‘Viflaimul’, associated with the birth of Jesus Christ.

The acting involves a group of 18 to 20 young actors playing for about 16 minutes, and the biblical characters are God, Adam and Eve, 3 angels, 2 devils, 6 dead people and 6 old men.

‘Adam’s Tree’ starts on the Christmas Eve, until the Christmas night and continues in New Year’s Eve.

This beautiful custom celebrates 190 years and has been brought from Cet??ele village. It was also present during the communist regime, as nothing could have forbidden it. The young actors presenting the play have performed at the Festival of Winter Customs in Sighetul Marmatiei, being on local, national and even international televisions.

This year you can applaud them at the Christmas Festival in Maramures which takes place at the Village Museum in Baia Mare on December 20, starting 10 o’clock.

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