Holy Saturday, Resurrection night and Easter Sunday | Map of Romanian customs and traditions


This article, however, is not about the spiritual significance of the Easter holidays, but about the popular traditions, respected in the past and honored (or forgotten, here and there) nowadays. About the variety of cultural vestiges from different areas of Romania and the Republic of Moldova, traditions that make us unrepeatable, traditions that unite us and give us verticality. In some areas the church is stolen, in others “Denii” is made. Somewhere the girls are sprinkled with perfume so they don’t wither, in other parts they shoot at the target with hatched eggs… Read more about the amalgamation of colorful traditions in different parts of Romania and the Republic of Moldova.

In the Apuseni Mountains, the butt is stolen from the church and the “carbide rifle” is practiced

In the The land of Motilor (we are talking about the Apuseni Mountains, the current Romanian counties of Alba, Arad, Bihor, Cluj and Hunedoara), on Easter night the young boys take the butcher from the church, take it to the cemetery, where they have the mission to guard it. And if they didn’t guard it well and it was “stolen”, the boys are punished that the next day they have to give a feast, that is, food and drinks from which both the “thieves” and the “damagers” feasted. If those who tried to steal the hoard did not succeed, then they will be the ones who will pay for the feast. either way, everyone will benefit.

Also, in Apuseni, women go to the cemetery on the night of the Resurrection to light candles at the graves, and the first day of Easter begins with the paschal communion, after the faithful wash themselves with water, in which a red egg, a coin of gold and nettle.

Also in the Apuseni Mountains, in addition to the well-known traditional customs, every year, at Easter, another custom takes place, which has become traditional, “Carbide rifle”, which is practiced throughout the Easter Lent, but especially during Holy Week and , in particular, on Resurrection Night. This custom also has the meaning of warding off evil to welcome the Resurrection of the Lord and is practiced from generation to generation by young people, who gather, especially on Resurrection Night, to mark this celebration. Over 100 kg of carbide, 30 pipes 3-4 meters long, placed on the nearby hill, water, tires to maintain the fire all night and a lot of good cheer to last until morning. At midnight, all the pipes are shot at the same time, so that the sensation and the noise shake you to the core. This is how the custom is carried out in Roşia Montană and in other localities on the peaks of the Apuseni mountains.

In Transylvania, girls are sprinkled and fir trees are decorated

Probably, the most well-known custom is the one from the area of ​​Transylvania, known as “sprinkled”, a custom taken from the Hungarians. The boys go to the families, where they know they are girls, and they spray them with perfume, “so they don’t wear out”. The “sprinkling” is still preserved today and represents a good opportunity for a reunion with friends, and, basically, for fun.

In fact, in the area of ​​Transylvania, due to the existence of several Eastern and Western influences, certain specific customs from both the Saxons and the Hungarians were adopted by Easter. In certain areas of Transylvania, on Saturday, boys decorate fir-trees with colored ribbons, and when it gets dark, the young men sneak into the yards of brides-to-be and hang their fir-trees on the gate. The beautiful girls of the village are visited by dozens of boys who put firs at the gate, and they know who to reward, because they are lurking at the windows all night.

The “splash” of the girls. Easter tradition in Transylvania


In Brașov, at the Junilor Parade

In the The country of Bârsei (in the Brasov area), annually, the “Junii Brașovului” parade takes place, which takes place on the first Sunday after the Orthodox Easter, also known as Thomas’s Sunday. In fact, this is a party that brings the whole community together. Groups of young people, organized like gangs of carolers or carolers, with wataf and cashier, collect eggs from young girls, after which they go to the Solomon’s Stones, for a picnic, where competitions take place. The most famous and beloved of them is throwing the mace.

The first documentary attestation of this tradition is from 1728, in one of the books of the archive of the First Romanian School in Șchei. However, there are historians who claim that the custom has much older origins, since the time of the Dacians.

to Câmpulung Moldovenesc are sanctified the symbols of joy

In the area Moldovan field, the tradition is distinguished by the complexity of the symbols, the belief in the miraculous power of the prayer for the blessing of the pieces. At dawn on Sunday, the faithful go out into the church yard, sit in a circle, carrying lighted candles in their hands, waiting for the priest to consecrate and bless the pieces from the Easter basket.

Such a basket is prepared in front of each household, according to the order of the ancestors. In the basket covered with a woven napkin with a pattern specific to the area are placed, on a plate, the symbols of joy for the whole year: poppy seeds (which will be thrown to evil to ward off drought), salt (which will be kept to bring abundance ), sugar (used whenever the cattle will be sick), flour (so that the wheat fruit is rich), onion and garlic (with a role of protection against insects). Pastries, ham, cheese, red eggs, but also poached eggs, money, flowers, smoked fish, beetroot with horseradish, and cakes are placed on top of this plate. After the consecration of this paschal basket, the Easter ritual continued in the family.

Consecration of the Easter basket


Target shooting with hatched eggs, and the Lioara dance, in Crișana

Easter customs from Crisana are some of the most interesting. On Maundy Thursday, the threshing floor is beaten, to ward off evil spirits and purify the village.

A custom of the area is “target shooting with hatched eggs”. Once upon a time, after the Thursday evening service, the young men of some villages would collect hatched eggs from the birds’ nests and fight with them in the church yard. On the same day, the eggs are also chosen for “impistration”, i.e. marking with sacred signs. For this, the bijorca, a specific Bihorian instrument, is used. Traditionally, the eggs are sealed with beeswax and dyed with a solution of onion leaves.

After Easter, on Tomii’s Sunday, the girls get caught up in “Lioara”, a traditional dance accompanied by Bihorean verses, which starts in the cemetery, on the graves, and continues on the village streets and in the fields.

In some villages in Crisana, pots and pans filled with flour, salt and fodder are brought to the church to be sanctified. Food prepared in these vessels is said to be much tastier, and animals that consume blessed fodder are protected from spells and evil spirits. The flour consecrated by the priest is used to prepare bread on the hearth, which is offered to pregnant women and women who wish to conceive. Tradition says that these women will give birth to healthy and beautiful children.

Why girls from Bucovina wash the tongue of the bell

In the Bucovina, the girls go to the belfry on the night of the Resurrection and wash the tongue of the bell with fresh water. With this water, the girl was washed at dawn on Easter day, so that she would be beautiful all year round, and just as people run to the Resurrection when the church bells are rung, so should the boys run to them. The young men must go with flowers to the houses where the girls they love live, and they, to show their consent to their feelings, must offer them a red egg.

Everyone on Easter day must ring the bells and personally ring the bells, a sign of the apostolate and the spreading of the news of the Resurrection through it. The children’s walk for red eggs is a continuation and a transformation of old traditions when sons went to their parents, grandchildren to their grandparents and grandchildren to their godparents with Easter and eggs, meeting and sitting at the table with them, especially in the second and third Easter day.

In Bucovina, the bell is washed with fresh water


Moldova – washing with red eggs and Deniile with fines

In the Moldavia, the next morning after the night of the Resurrection, one red and one white egg is placed in a bowl of water that must also contain coins. Children wash their faces and rub their cheeks with eggs, to have a year full of wealth and health. Another tradition on the banks of the Prut requires that the Easter egg be eaten, and the shells must be thrown on the road.

At Easter, pyres are lit to ward off evil spirits

There is another custom in Moldova, especially in the north of the Republic of Moldova, which dates back to ancient times, namely, lighting pyres on the night of the Resurrection. This tradition, called “Denii” has existed for a very long time and symbolizes the banishment of evil spirits. Although it is considered a secular tradition and not supported by the church, it is still practiced in many villages. In the past, people only used wood or straw for Easter pyres, but now young people are much more pragmatic and burn tires in particular, a fact punished by the authorities with stinging fines.

However, the tradition of praying on Easter night does not seem to be dying out.

The Denii tradition in Northern Moldova


Customs, traditions and superstitions on Holy Saturday

And finally, because we are on Holy Saturday, here are some customs, traditions and superstitions from the day that crowns the efforts of Christians during the Easter Lent, marking the end of a cycle of death and sacrifice, and ushering in a time of rebirth, resurrection and reinvigoration hope and fulfillment in God:

🔘 On Holy Saturday, women prepare most of the dishes and make the final touches for the new clothes that will be worn on Easter. Lambs are sacrificed.

🔘 In order for all family members to be healthy throughout the year, the bones and scraps collected after the lamb is cut are buried at the root of a healthy apple or hair.

🔘 For Easter it is said that women must have at least one new shirt, and men at least one hat.

🔘 During Passion Week, mourning clothes are worn. On the day of Resurrection, the clothes are changed to new, white ones.

🔘 It is said that “if you want your most ardent wishes to be fulfilled, you must not sleep at all on the night of Holy Saturday, because when the heavens open, God cannot see the inside of your being and cannot give you what – you wish.

🔘 If you stumble while heading to the Resurrection service, it is said that you will have a difficult and trying year.

🔘 Saturday evening, before the resurrection service, especially in the countryside, housewives prepare the basket of food, which is to be taken to the church, to be consecrated by the priest. In the basket, each housewife puts a new tea towel, a lighted white candle, eggs, cake, Easter, a piece of bacon, sugar, flour, a branch of basil, a lamb figurine made of baked dough and wine.


p class=”mb-8 px-6 md:px-0 font-bitter text-s17-l170 md:text-s18-l170 text-c121212″>In the preparation of the article, information from the sources was used: ziarulunirea.ro; rador.ro; incotro.olx.ro; jurnaldebucovina.com.

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