Being such a complex holiday, there is an entire series of traditions, customs and superstitions related to Christmas inherited from our ancestors, which still hold a great influence over us even today.We found out which ones are the most important and we would like to share them with you.
Customs and traditions:
One of the oldest most loved and awaited customs, both in urban and rural areas, is the trimming of the Christmas tree. In the past, the tree was decorated with candles, fruits and flowers to signify abundance and the tree of life. As a symbol, the Christmas tree can be found in many folk art pieces. The tradition of trimming the tree comes from Germanic tribes, where its triangular shape embodied the Holy Trinity. The Christmas tree has been associated with the Christmas holiday from 200 A.D., but the first trimmed tree dates back to Germany in the year 1605.
We all know how anxiously the little ones wait for Santa Claus, with his bag loaded with presents, but very few know the true legend of Santa Claus. They say Virgin Mary was looking for a shelter to give birth to Jesus Christ and it was the wife of Father Christmas (an old Sheppard from Romanian mythology) who offered her shelter in his own house. Father Christmas was but a mean man and upon finding out what had happened, he punished his wife by cutting her hands off, but Virgin Mary, as a thank you, glued her hands back together. This miracle determined Father Christmas to convert to Christianity and become a kind and merciful man. He started offering presents to people to bring a smile to their faces.
Caroling is another custom we kept throughout the ages. Children and adults alike go from house to house singing carols that foretell the birth of Jesus Christ and in return they are rewarded with apples, nuts, sweets and money. The carol is seen as form of beneficial magic and it symbolizes the death of the old year and the birth of the new one.
Ignat Day is a ritual on the 20th of December where the pig is sacrificed.If it’s not cut on this date, it won’t gain any weight because “he saw his knife”. After cutting the pig, the women of the household prepare a dish called “pomana porcului” (The charity of the pig) which will be feasted on by anybody who comes into their home that day.
-On Christmas Day, it’s good to brush your teeth with water you previously soaked with silver coins. This is meant to bring you productivity and health all year.
-They say around midnight on Christmas, water turns into wine and the household animals start speaking.
-On Christmas Eve, trees are tied with straws, so they will be fruitful the entire year.
-On Christmas Eve, in Bucovina, people leave a ring biscuit and a glass of water on the table over night, because it is believed that on this night the soles of the dead come by their houses, taste the biscuit and drink from the glass of water.
-On Christmas Eve it’s good to first lay out the dishes on the table and then the drinks.
-On Christmas Day, it’s bad luck to sweep the house. The house gets swept the next day after Christmas and the garbage is laid at the base of trees, to make them fertile.
-Another tradition is to leave a basin of wheat on the house’s porch, and carolers are supposed to jump over it. Afterwards, the wheat is used to feed the birds and animals of the household.
-On Christmas Eve, in the Maramures villages, the windows in the household are smeared with garlic to chase away the bad spirits.
-Around the Muscel area, the first four days after Christmas are considered to correspond to the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter. The way the weather will be on each of those days is a forecast of each season.
-Heavy snowfall around Christmas foreshadows a new year filled with richness.
-If you find a spider web around the house on Christmas morning, they say it will bring luck year round.