Celebrating Easter in Romania
Easter is celebrated for a week in most countries, where every day starting from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday each held individually. However in Romania during the Easter holiday only Black Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday is celebrated. This holiday remains the most important religious celebrations of the nation which includes preparations and several rituals. Commonly it is a time for a major housecleaning and preparing traditionally Easter dishes. The men do work around the house, they fix the fences, chop the wood and kill the lamb while the women decorate the Easter eggs inside, clean the house and do the laundry.
Black Thursday traditions and superstitions
Romanian people are hard-shell orthodox and also very superstitious. By the end of Black Thursday the women have to finish sewing the clothes otherwise it is said that they will be punished by a mythical woman called Joimarita. Joimarita is a lady who takes lazy girls and eats them or casts a spell on them so they will not be able to work for the next year. According to Romanian beliefs on this day the dead return and spend Easter with their loved ones. They go back to their old houses and sit in the yard or on the roof.
There is a fire lit for the souls for which the old women, pure girls and children only can gather the wood. The brushwood must be picked by hand and cannot be cut and put on the ground. It must be hung on the fence or other object until the next day. Next to the fire the people put chairs and blankets where it is said that the souls will sit. Before Easter the ladies paint the eggs usually red which are taken to the church and are buried in order to prevent the hail coming.
On Good Friday, which is also called the Friday of sufferings or Great Friday in Romania people do not eat. Tradition dictates that when you wake up you must step on iron. Another superstition says that those who bather in the cold water of the river three times will be healthy through the next year. On this day everyone usually goes to confess in church. No filed or hard work is allowed to be done on this day.
Easter Sunday and Easter Monday
On the night before Easter Sunday the people go to midnight mass called Inviere where candles are lit and the priest calls out the people to take the light and bring it to their homes. On Sunday morning the people go to church and they greet each other saying ‘Hristos a înviat!’ meaning that ‘Jesus is risen’. To this phrase the other person replies ’Adevărat a înviat!’ which means ’He truly is risen’. Usually families dine together and have a wonderful time.
On Easter Monday there is a special tradition when the girls stay at home and wait for the boys to come and ’sprinkle’ them with water or perfume. The girls prepare decorated Easter-eggs and the boys go to houses reciting an Easter poem, then they ask whether they can sprinkle or not. If the girl says yes, the boys blow some perfume on the girl’s hair and take an egg and occasionally some money in return for the poem.