Welcome To Christmas Around The World
Learn How Other Children Celebrate Christmas From Different Countries!
Say Merry Christmas in Romanian
The tradition in Romania is for children to travel from house to house singing carols (known as 'Colindatul') and reciting poetry and legends throughout the Christmas season. They normally dance as well. The children get sweets, fruit, traditional cakes called 'cozonaci' and sometimes money for singing well. Adults go carol singing on Christmas Day evening and night. The leader carries a large wooden star called a steaua, which is covered with shiny paper and decorated with bells and colored ribbon. A picture of the Holy Family is pasted in the star's center, and the entire creation is attached to a broomstick or stout pole.
A traditional Romanian Carol is the 'Star Carol'. In the middle of the star is a picture of baby Jesus or a nativity scene. Carol singers take the star with them when they go carol singing. The words of the
Star Carol are:
"The star has appeared on high,
Like a big secret in the sky,
The star is bright,
May all your wishes turn out right."
Other popular carols to sing include 'Oh, What Wondrous Tidings' ('O, ce veste minunata') and 'Three Wise Men coming from the East' ('Trei Crai de la rasarit').
In Romania, Christmas and mid-winter celebrations last from 20th December to 7th January. The 20th is when people celebrate St. Ignatius's Day. It is traditional that if the family keep pigs, one is killed on this day. The meat from the pig is used in the Christmas meals.
The Christmas celebrations really begin on Christmas Eve, 24th, when it's time to decorate the Christmas Tree. This is done in the evening of Christmas Eve. In Romanian, Christmas Eve is called 'Ajunul Craciunului'.
In many parts of Romania, it's also traditional that someone dresses up as a goat, with a multicolored mask, and goes round with the carol singers. The goat is known as the 'Capra' and it jumps and dances around getting up to lots of mischief!
Another Christmas Eve tradition is a drumming band or 'dubasi'. This is normally made up of un-married men. A band can have up to 50 or 60 men in it! As well as the drums there's often a saxophone and violin. The band will practice for about a month before Christmas so they are really good. The go round the streets and are given presents.
In Romania Santa Claus is known as 'Moş Crăciun' (Old Man Christmas), 'Moş Nicolae' (Old Man Nicholas) & 'Moş Gerilă' (Old Man Frost).
Traditional Romanian Christmas foods include Roast Gammon and Pork Chops (made from the killed pig!), 'Ciorba de perisoare' which is a slightly sour vegetable soup made with fermented bran and pork meatballs; 'Sarmale' cabbage leaves stuffed with ground pork and served with polenta; 'Cozonac' a rich fruit bread; Romanian doughnuts called 'gogosi' and cheesecakes.
New Year's Eve is also an important celebration in Romania. It's sometimes called Little Christmas. Traditionally a small, decorated plough called a 'Plugusorul' is paraded through the streets on New Year's Eve. It is meant to help people have good crops during the following year.
On New Year's Day, children wish people a Happy New Year while carrying around a special bouquet called a 'Sorcova'. Traditionally, the Sorcova was made of twigs from one or more fruit trees like apple, pear, cherry or plum. They're put into water in a warm place on 30th November, so they hopefully come into leaf and blossom on New Year's Eve! Nowadays often a single twig of an apple or pear tree is used and it's decorated with flowers made from colored paper.